Duterte signs 1st executive order to investigate media killings

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (photo: www.pinastrending.com)

By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed his first administrative order creating a presidential task force on media killings.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Task Force will look into the violations of the right to life, liberty and security of the members of the press.

“The reason why the President wanted this administrative order is because he cares for you, for us. And he believes in the freedom of the press,” said Andanar.

The task force will be led by the Justice secretary and co-led by the Presidential Communications Office secretary. The members will include the Interior secretary, Defense secretary, the solicitor general, the executive director of the presidential human rights committee and the heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Andanar said the head of the Commission on Human Rights and the Ombudsman had been invited as observers and resource persons.

Aguirre said the November 9 Maguindanao massacre, wherein 58 people (32 of them media members), were killed, will be among the cases to be given priority in their investigations.

“The directive of President Duterte is that he wants these media killings solved and he wants to prevent whatever threats there are against the media,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said he has yet to be updated on the latest developments in the case. It would be the seventh anniversary of the case on November 23.

Prosecutors have filed murder charges against 95 suspects, including former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. who died of liver cancer.

The victims, led by the wife of then Buluan Vice-mayor and now Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, were en route to Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy when they were stopped and murdered by more than 100men in the town of Ampatuan.

The attack was allegedly committed by the ruling Ampatuan clan led by Andal Jr., who was being challenged by Mangudadatu in the gubernatorial race.

The Ampatuans have denied involvement in the massacre.

“We would classify all the criminal cases made against the media such as those that are unsolved, the cases that have pending investigation, cases on trial and those that are on appeal,” Aguirre said.