Philippine Daily Inquirer

‘Super body’ to probe media killings

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is forming a “super body” to address attacks against journalist­s even as another radio reporter was shot on Friday in Nabua town, Camarines Sur.

- By Dona Pazzibugan and Jonas Cabiles Soltes Inquirer Southern Luzon Marlon Ramos With a report by

Miguel Belen, 48, a reporter of radio dwEb-FM in Nabua was shot in the neck and body by motorcycle-riding men while he was on his way home from work on Friday night. He is fighting for his life in a hospital in nearby Iriga City.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had told officials of the National Press Club (NPC) that same day that an executive order was being drafted to create a “super body” to handlemedi­a killings.

“It will be something stronger than the current task force that handles extrajudic­ial killings to give journalist­s more protection,” De Lima said.

The NPC also issued a statement on Friday quoting De Lima's promise of creating a more effective government body to go after those behind themurder of mediamembe­rs.

“This was something that was discussed during my meeting with the NPC. The NPC wanted more teeth in handling media killings and we agreed for the creation of an executive order,” De Lima said.

Former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had created a “presidenti­al task force against political violence” nearly three years ago in the wake of the spate of extrajudic­ial killings and abductions of leftist activists and mediamembe­rs.

In Administra­tive Order 211 dated Nov. 22, 2007, Arroyo gave what came to be known as Task Force 211 a broad mandate to coordinate with other sectors to investigat­e, prosecute and prevent cases of political violence.

Task Force 211, chaired by an undersecre­tary at the Department of Justice, reported the filing as of Feb. 23 of 265 cases of extrajudic­ial killings and abductions, more than half of which had either been dismissed in court (65), archived since the accused were at large (70), or classified as cold cases due to lack of leads (50).

List grew by 4 names

In the last two months, four names were added to the list of murdered journalist­s. These were broadcaste­rs Jose Daguio, who was shot near his house in Tabuk City on July 3; Jovelito Agustin of dzJC radio in Laoag City, gunned down on June 15; Desiderio Camangyan of Sunrise FM Radio in Mati City, gunned down on June 14; and Nestor Bedolido, editorial consultant for a weekly news magazine in Davao del Sur, gunned down on June 19.

Latest victim inNabua

The latest victim, Belen, was reported as of presstime in critical condition at the Doña Josefa Hospital in Iriga City.

According to Nabua police investigat­or Jose Rejuador Cada, Belen was riding home on a motorcycle when unidentifi­ed men tailing him on another motorcycle shot him as they passed by Barangay San Jose, about three kilometers from the town proper, at about 8:45 p.m. on July 9.

Cada said Belen, also the former barangay captain of Francia in Iriga City, sustained gunshot wounds in the neck and body. Police recovered four empty .45-cal. shells from the crime scene.

Politics could be one of the mo- tives behind the shooting, Cada said, but added that the police had yet to gather all the facts.

Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio Fortuno (5th District) said Belen received threats from the camp of his political opponent during the last election.

Suspect in Tabuk arrested

Meanwhile, police yesterday reported the arrest of a suspect in the killing of Daguio in Kalinga province last week.

The Criminal Investigat­ion and Detection Group (CIDG) identified the suspect as Edgar Guiawan, 38, of Barangay Tuga in Tabuk.

CIDG chief Leon Nilo de la Cruz said Guiawan was identified by a witness as the shotgun-wielding man who fired at Daguio, 72, while the victim was feeding his dog in front of his house last July 3.

Aside from the supposed gunman, De la Cruz said others charged for Daguio’s murder were Edmund, Lando andWilly, all surnamed Bilog, and a certain Daldin Guiawan.

He said the killing may have been triggered by the reported anomalies in a local waterworks project that Daguio apparently uncovered.

According to De la Cruz, police investigat­orswere also looking into reports that the suspects belonged to a group of cattle rustlers in Kalinga province.

“But we have yet to determine if (Daguio’s) murder was related to his former work as a broadcaste­r,” the CIDG director said.

Daguio used to submit stories to the Tabuk-based Guru Press and worked as an anchor of a news and public affairs program on the stateowned Radyo Natin in Kalinga.

According to his former colleagues, Daguio stopped working at the radio station last year due to health problems.

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