Malacañang on Tuesday vowed justice for the killing of a female journalist in Batangas province, as the police force in the province formed a task force to resolve the crime.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also on Tuesday condemned the killing of Melinda Magsino in broad daylight on Monday in Barangay Balagtas in Batangas City.
“The killing of Melinda Magsino is a tragedy, to her family and to our democracy,” Binay said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Palace condemns the murder of Magsino, and an “intensive” manhunt has been launched to find the killers.
“We condemn the killing in broad daylight of Melinda Magsino, a crusading journalist while she served previously as a correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,” he said in a statement.
“Task Force Usig of the Philippine National Police [PNP] is coordinating intensive police operations to pursue her assailants and bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice,” Coloma said.
He added an interagency task force led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) with the participation of the National Press Club was also created to focus in resolving killings of journalists.
Magsino, who was walking on the street, was shot dead on her head by an unidentified gunman who fled with another man riding on a motorcycle.
Binay called upon the DOJ and PNP to “ensure that those behind the murder of Ms. Magsino are swiftly brought to justice.”
“Ms. Magsino was a local journalist who also used social media to exercise her freedom of expression and her civic duty. For this she was silenced,” he added.
The vice president said there are no words strong enough to convey his disgust with the continued killings of Filipino journalists.
“The press is a key institution in a democratic society and the protection of all media practitioners is a responsibility of the State and one that should be given priority,” Binay said.
“The safety of our journalists should always be guaranteed. They should remain free from harassment and acts of violence,” he added.
Task force in Batangas
The Batangas Police Provincial Office has formed a task force to intensify police operations and speed up the investigation on the slaying Magsino.
Police Senior Supt. Omega Jireh Fidel, Batangas police director, said Task Force Magsino has been created to handle the case.
“All leads/angles are being investigated—personal, business and her being a former media,” he said.
The love triangle angle will also be looked into by the task force, because Magsino is married but is currently involved with a live-in partner with whom she is running a chiropractic clinic.
Fidel said the task force is not yet considering the case a “media killing” because Magsino is no longer officially connected with any media outfit.
“She’s no longer a media practitioner or connected with PDI [Inquirer],” he said.
WITH REPORT FROM TINA GANZON