Senator Grace Poe condemned the recent killing of two journalists in Mindanao and exhorted authorities to conduct a thorough investigation for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.
“The incidents bring to fore the violence and culture of impunity in the attacks against Filipino journalists,” Poe said.
“The people are counting on the police and law enforcers to keep our streets safe; that criminals will be immediately hunted down and prosecuted,” she added.
Poe, advocate and sponsor of the Freedom of Information bill at the Senate, said journalists should be able to work freely in an environment free from danger.
“They should be able to report stories and issues relevant to the Filipinos, and we know that journalists have risen to the occasion despite the odds,” she said.
Aside from the police, the senator also called on the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right
to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media to act with dispatch on the cases.
Killed were Rudy Alicaway, 46, radio anchor of Tigmo-Tigmo program at DXPB 106.9 (Radyo ng
Bayan Molave) and Leo Diaz, reporter of Radio Mindanao Network and columnist of Sapol Newspaper.
Alicaway was on his way home on Aug. 6 in Molave town, Zamboanga del Sur when he was shot by two motorcycle-riding gunmen. He was reportedly also a village councilman of Miligan in Molave.
Diaz died from multiple gunshot wounds after he was shot by a motorcycle-riding gunman after leaving his house in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat.
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon reiterated the need to take a bite out of crime, especially the assassinations perpetrated by riding-in-tandems, following the killing last Saturday of Butuan City Regional Trial Court Judge Godofredo Abul Jr., and of former Business World editor Michael Marasigan and his brother Christopher.
Condemning the assassination, Gordon called on the House of Representatives for the immediate passage of their version of Senate Bill No. 1397 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017.
He pointed out that imposing bigger and more easily readable plate numbers on motorcycles would ensure that witnesses would be able to better read and CCTV cameras pick up the plate number of motorcycles used in the commission of crimes.
“I condemn Judge Abul’s assassination, which also left his wife critically injured. The judge’s killing, along with the recent killing of Mike, only underscores the need to take a big bite out of riding-in-tandem assassinations. Bigger and more easily readable plate numbers would take a very big bite out of crimes committed by persons riding in tandem on motorcycles,” the senator said.
“Over the past seven years, the PNP (Philippine National Police) have recorded more than 10,000 shooting incidents committed by persons riding in tandem on motorcycles. But this has been going on far longer. In fact, for more than two decades now, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and journalists have fallen victims to riding-in-tandem assassins and most of their cases have remained unsolved to this day.It is high time that we do something to stop these killings!” he added.
A list from the Supreme Court showed that in the 16 years from 1999 to 2015, 22 judges have died due to gunshot wounds: Hon. Celso F. Lorenzo, Sr.; Hon. Geminiano A. Eduardo; Hon. Ariston L. Rubio; Hon. Eugenio R. Valles; Hon. Oscar Gaby M. Uson; Hon. Pinera A. Biden; Hon. Paterno G. Tiamson; Hon. Voltaire Rosales; Hon. Milnar T. Lamnawin; Hon. Henrick F. Gingoyon; Hon. Sahara U. Silongan; Hon. Nathaniel C. Pattugalan; Hon. Orlando C. Velasco; Hon. Roberto A. Navidad; Hon. Edimer DC. Gumbahali; Hon. Andres Q. Cipriano; Hon. Reynaldo A. Lacasandile; Hon. Henry D. Arles; Hon. Reynerio G. Estacio; Hon. Jude Erwin U. Alaba; Hon. Wilfredo T. Nieves; and Hon. Reynaldo M. Espinar.