THE POLICE, the National Bureau of Investigation and a Palace task force are investigating the brutal ambush of ex-journalist Michael “Mike” Marasigan, a consultant of the Department of Finance (DoF), Thursday night by motorcycle-riding men in San Juan.
But there are still no suspects, the Eastern Police District (EPD) said on Friday.
“No person of interest [yet]…We will know tomorrow. We will stay glued to the case,” said Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, EPD director.
Michael Marasigan, 60, a former journalist and editor of BusinessWorld and its predecessor BusinessDay, and Christopher Marasigan, 50, his brother and a businessman, were ambushed on the corner of Barcelona and V. Cruz Streets in Barangay Sta. Lucia, San Juan at about 6:10 p.m. Thursday.
Marasigan died on the spot because of multiple gunshot wounds, while his brother, who had three gunshot wounds on his belly, was rushed to the San Juan Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival.
Police said the two were on board a gray Mazda CX5 sport utility vehicle, with plate number WOU-583, on V. Cruz Street when two men on a motorcycle suddenly appeared beside the vehicle and opened fire.
Thirty-four empty shells from .45 and 9mm guns were spotted at the crime scene.
There were no security cameras in the area, where a housing project was being constructed.
Aguirre orders parallel probe
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday to conduct a parallel investigation into the killings.
“Aside from catching the perpetrators, we want to know the real motives behind the attack on the victims. Is it because of Michael Marasigan’s work as a media personality? Is it because of his previous employment with the Department of Finance?” Aguirre said in a statement.
Aguirre, who heads the Presidential Task Force on Media Security mandated to probe newsmen’s killings, said he was “duty-bound to order this probe to get to the bottom of the attack.”
“We want our NBI to explore all angles,” he said.
The task force’s executive director, Undersecretary Joel Egco, vowed that the government would “leave no stone unturned” in the pursuit of justice for the Marasigans.
“The [task force]will continue to monitor the progress of the investigation and provide the necessary legal assistance,” he said in a statement.
Respected by peers
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd called on authorities to find and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those behind the killing of his communications consultant.
“I am both saddened and shocked. My deepest condolences go to the family of Mike and that of his brother, Christopher,” Dominguez said.
“I have known Mike for over 30 years. I and his peers held him in very high regard for his skills and thorough professionalism,” he added.
“Mike, who always had a kind word to everyone he meets, was a highly respected journalist and public relations man. As my communications consultant, he was always prompt, thorough and very good at what he did, which was to assist the DoF in relaying its key messages and programs to the public,” Dominguez said.
Marasigan began a journalism career in BusinessDay, Southeast Asia’s first business daily, and pioneered one of the country’s first digitized newspapers—BusinessWorld Online – becoming its first online chief editor.
He was also an independent producer for the Living Asia channel and creator of ourphilippines.tv.
Gordon leads tribute
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice committee, said he was “terribly shattered” by the news of Marasigan’s killing.
“Since we first met at my mother’s house at the height of the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991, when I mistook him for a pastor, Mike and I had become good friends, exchanging advice and good thoughts, mostly through text messages, through the years,” he said.
“Mike is irreplaceable. A great media personality, fair critic and an in-depth writer,” he added.
Gordon on Friday sought the immediate passage of a measure requiring bigger plate number for motorcycles to address the unabated slays by masked, motorcycle-riding killers.
“The fact that investigators could not immediately identify and pursue the killers because witnesses could not decipher the motorcycle’s plate number has further driven home the need to immediately impose bigger plate numbers for motorcycles,” Gordon said.
The number of killings by motorcycle-riding assassins reached 2,759 in 2016 alone, the senator said.
with DEMPSEY REYES, MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO AND BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO