JUSTICE Secretary Leila De Lima on Friday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the shooting of Orlando “Orly” Navarro, president of the Pangasinan Press Club and station manager of DWIZ FM Music and News Radio Dagupan.
Navarro had earlier asked De Lima to investigate Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez, whom the broadcaster tagged as one of the possible suspects in the crime.
In a one-page memorandum to Director Virgilio Mendez, De Lima gave the NBI 15 days to submit an initial report on the incident.
De Lima wanted the assassins and the mastermind to be unmasked and file the necessary charges before the courts of law.
“In light of the foregoing, and pursuant to this department’s continuing commitment to eradicate media killings and other forms of violence and threats to the security and life of media practitioners, the [NBI] is hereby directed to immediately conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged incident, towards identifying the perpetrators, including the masterminds, if any, behind said attack and filing appropriate charges,” De Lima’s memorandum stated.
Navarro on Thursday wrote De Lima asking for the investigation of Fernandez, her ally Marlon Quebral, Dagupan Chief of Police Christopher Abrahano, former Pangasinan Provincial Director Marlon Chan and former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Pangasinan head Freddie Laoyan.
Navarro said that he was criticizing Fernandez’s administration and he included the mayor’s name in the affidavit he submitted to the DOJ so that authorities will have a lead in the conduct of their probe.
Navarro was wounded at the back of his left shoulder when a still unidentified gunman shot him on August 26 in Dagupan City.
Meanwhile, Fernandez welcomed any investigation on her involvement in the failed attempt on the life of Navarro.
“As expected, Mr. Navarro has somehow managed to find a way to link my name to this crime, and even went as far as urging Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to investigate me. I welcome any and all investigations, Madame Secretary, and I assure you of my full cooperation. The sooner it is established how ridiculous this allegation is, the sooner I will be able to concentrate on my duties to serve the city,” said Fernandez in a statement emailed to The Manila Times.
“Moreover, a thorough investigation will undoubtedly reveal the exact motives for Mr. Navarro’s accusation, and why a well-known businessman has offered a reward for any leads on the case. While the rest of the Philippines may be generally unaware of the socio-political situation in Dagupan City, I can assure you that most Dagupeños already know the answers to these questions.
“It is true that Mr. Navarro has been a long-time critic of my administration. Frankly, on the very rare instances that I am able to listen to him, I find his tirades quite amusing. Press freedom and open journalism have always been pillars in my platform of governance, and dissenting opinions are an important part of civil society.
“I urge the Department of Justice, the police, and all investigating bodies to convict the real perpetrator of this crime. While some individuals have chosen to milk this situation for political value, a real criminal needs to account for his actions.
“Again, let me reiterate that I am very thankful that he survived this lowly act of cowardice, and I wish him a full and speedy recovery,” her statement said.