Probe into slay of media men, priests, fiscals not just ‘lip service’
Malacanang on Wednesday defended the efforts of the Duterte administration to investigate the series of killings that have targeted media practitioners, priests and prosecutors, saying the government’s initiatives are not merely a “lip service.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark three days after the killing of Nueva Ecija priest, Fr. Richmond Nilo last Sunday, noting that the government will make the case its “top priority.”
Nilo is the third Catholic priest killed in the country in the past seven months.
Roque said President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself has expressed concern on the rise in the number of killings.
“Nababahala talaga si Presidente dito sa pagtaas ng kriminalidad ‘no (The President is really concerned about the rise in criminality in the country),” Roque said.
Roque said that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is supervising the probe into Fr. Nilo’s killing.
“Ang pinaka-latest na balita nga pala dito sa pinatay na pangatlong pari, eh si PNP Chief Albayalde na po ang nagsu-supervise sa imbestigasyon. Ito po’y in-assure sa akin kahapon lamang ni Gen. Albayalde (The latest news about the third priest killed, is PNP Chief Albayalde is supervising the investigation. He gave me the assurance yesterday),” Roque said.
He also emphasized that unlike the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the current administration is not taking lightly the spate of killings, including those of media men and prosecutors.
“Hindi gaya ng mga nakalipas na administrasyon, mayroon po tayong task force pagdating sa patayan ng mga mamamahayag (Unlike the previous administration, we have a task force focusing on the killings of members of the media),” Roque said.
“Hindi lang po ‘yan lip service, talaga pong mayroon tayong isang Undersecretary Egco na siya mismo po ang nagsu-supervise ‘no ng investigation (It’s not just lip service, we have Undersecretary Egco supervising the investigation),” he added.
Communications Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco heads the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) created by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2016 to address media killings and harassment.
Roque assured that the government will provide justice for the civilians killed.
“At ito namang pagpatay po ng mga prosecutors, eh tinututukan po din namin ‘yan. In other words, ang katungkulan po natin ‘pag may patayan, imbestigahan at bigyan ng katarungan ang mga biktima (On the killings of prosecutors, we will also prioritize that. In other words, our duty is that if there are killings, we will investigate and give justice to victims),” Roque said. (PNA)