TAGUM CITY — As part of his vow to end the slow grind of justice to the media killings in the country, the camp of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte mulls over mounting courts exclusive for hearing cases related to killings of journalists.
“We will put up special courts and prosecution panels to handle these cases and offer rewards and incentives will be provided under law for the immediate arrest, prosecution and conviction of the criminals,” Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesperson, told Davao Today on Wednesday, February 17.
The said plan to expedite justice for media workers killed for their work can be viewed as a bold step in the Philippines. The country is the world’s second-deadliest country for journalists and media staff since 1990, according to an International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report.
And killers, including those behind the Ampatuan massacre, the most violent history in the history of Philippine media, go unpunished.
Special investigators to be given deadline
When asked as to how Duterte will ensure that under his presidency, law enforcement officers will seriously work on the cases to solve these senseless killings, Laviña had this to say:
“He (Duterte) will give police investigators and prosecutors quick and ‘limited’ time to resolve these cases. If not, they might as well look for another job.”
Duterte’s stance on media killings came a day after Elvis Ordaniza, 50, a broadcast journalist based in Zamboanga del Sur was shot dead on Tuesday evening, February 16, inside his residence at Pitogo town. Police authorities said that Ordaniza, a former rebel, sustained two gun shots in his chest using a .45 caliber pistol.
According to investigating authorities, Ordaniza was a reporter for radio station dxWO Power99 FM. If his death is proven to be work-related, he will be the 171st journalist killed since 1986 and 31st under the regime of President Benigno Aquino III, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Laviña said that Duterte will relentlessly pursue and prosecute both the trigger men and mastermind(s) of slaying journalists.
“There is no room for murderers of press people in a free and democratic society. And we will make sure that a corresponding punishment shall be inflicted to those who kill, hurt or harass members of the press,” he said. (davaotoday.com)