Reynante “Rey” Cortes, a block timer for radio station dyRB, was shot dead by motorcycle “riding in tandem” gunmen in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), through its Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, on Thursday condemned the killing.
“We at the Presidential Task Force denounce the brutal murder of Rey Cortes. Rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this heinous crime. We have already directed law enforcement agencies to use all available resources to bring to justice the perpetrators,” Egco said in a statement.
Initial report submitted to PTFoMS by Police Major Dindo Juanito Balili Alaras, chief of Police Station II in Cebu City, disclosed that at around 9:10 in the morning, Cortes was shot in the abdomen by unknown gunmen as he came out of the radio station right after his block time program. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was 45 years old.
Egco has ordered investigators to thoroughly look into the case to find out if the incident was in connection with his radio program.
The PNP is one of the law enforcement agencies that comprises the PTFoMS.
Cortez already survived an earlier attempt on his life. He was also arrested in 2006 for alleged extortion.
Egco reminded broadcasters, specifically block timers, to be more vigilant as the election season nears. According to Egco, historically, there is a spike in election related violence committed against block timers as the election heats up, especially at the local level. Will
Block timing is the practice of buying “blocks” of air time to produce programs independent of networks and stations, said to be unique in the Philippines. PTFoMS said it has already asked legislators to look into this practice.
Meanwhile, PTFoMS Co-Chair and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar extended the government’s deepest condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Cortes and promised a complete investigation of the incident by the Task Force.
PTFoMS was created by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 to specifically safeguard press freedom by protecting the life, liberty and security of media workers, the first of its kind in the world.