Gov’t vows to ‘stamp out impunity against members of media’

Published November 15, 2019, 2:31 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is committed to hold accountable those behind media violence following the surrender of a policeman, who was one of the suspects in the recent killing of a broadcaster in Dumaguete City, a Palace official said Friday.

Presidential Communications Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Task Force on Media Security Executive Director Joel Sy-Egco 

Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Sy-Egco affirmed the government’s resolve as he presented Negros Oriental policeman Roger Rubio during a press conference in Malacañang.

Egco identified Rubio as the alleged gunman in the murder of radio man Dindo Generoso last November 7, saying the policeman felt the “pressure” of the manhunt launched against him, prompting him to surrendered to his commanding officer last November 13.

“We are pleased to announce that Rubio is now in government custody. Caving in to mounting pressure due to an intensified manhunt, Mr. Rubio, unfortunately an active personnel of the Negros Oriental Provincincial Mobile Force Company, gave himself up to his Commanding Officer P/LTCOL Judi Mar De Leon at around 6 o’clock in the evening of November 13,” Egco said, reading a statement of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during the press briefing.

Rubio and three other suspects in the Generoso killing have been slapped with murder charges, he added.

Egco, an undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, said the filing of charges against the suspects “proves and solidifies the administration’s commitment to stamp out impunity against members of the media.”

“The administration, through the PCOO and the PTFoMS, shall continue to go after and hold accountable to the law these perpetrators of media killings and violence in the Philippines, regardless who or what they are, and how and why they did it,” he said.

Asked about the motive for the killing of the broadcaster, Egco said investigators are looking into the possibilities that the murder was related to work and/or politics. “We’re still giving them the right to due process. But what is important is that the four of them have already been formally charged with murder,” he said.

Police Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, chief of Police Region Office-7, assured that the alleged involvement of a policeman in the murder case was an “isolated” case. He added that Rubio, who was named the primary person of interest after being implicated in the police investigation, will have his day in court.

“I requested Usec. Egco to treat this with utmost ‘yung dignity namin,” he said, shortly after Rubio was briefly shown to the media during the Palace press briefing.

Asked about the possible violation of a PNP policy against the presentation of a suspect to media, De Leon explained that they merely presented the policeman to the PTFoMs for further investigation.

“Hindi natin pinresent, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security directed us to bring the living body of the surrendered person para po maimbestigahan nila personally, aside from the investigation being conducted by us,” he said.