Breakthrough seen on cases of slain newsmen

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THE Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed on Thursday that their investigators made achieved breakthroughs in their investigations on the murder of three journalists in Mindanao in the past two weeks.

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The PNP has been directed by Malacañang to hunt down the suspects behind in the killing of Michael Diaz Milo in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur; Jash Dignos of Valencia City, Bukidnon; and Rogelio Butalid in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

PNP Public Information chief, Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said, “Task Force Usig” is monitoring the progress made by three Special Investigation Task Groups (SITGs) formed to conduct an investigation on the killing of the three journalists.

“At this early stage of investigation, there are no peculiar indications of a link that can connect the three incidents . . . the SITG do not see any common pattern among the cases,” Sindac said in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

Sindac said, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima had also expressed his confidence that the SITG formed by concerned regional police offices will be able to make significant breakthrough in their ongoing investigations of the killings.

Sindac said that the PNP chief gave his assurances to national media organizations of focused attention by dedicated SITGs composed of seasoned crime investigators backed by forensic examiners, legal team, intelligence support, and local police.

In the case of Dignos, the PNP official said that murder charges have been filed by Northern Mindanao Regional Police office against one identified suspect and several others.

Sindac said the suspect was identified thru a computerized facial composite provided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) based on the description given by a witness.

He added that SITG “Milo” has initially ruled-out that the killing of Milo in Tandag City was work-related in view of the fact that his radio station was not engaged in hard hitting commentaries.

“SITG initially ruled-out work related . . . other possible motives such as his strained relationship with his estranged wife and in-laws and his radio station is not engaged in commentaries, but promotion of alternative natural healing products,” Sindac said.

The PNP official also said that the other SITG looking into the killing of Butalid have already come-up with an artist sketch of the gunman based also on the description provided by a witness.

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