Palace task force acts on threats to journalists

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Although still awaiting the final signature on his appointment papers, Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director and Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco wasted no time in responding to journalists under threat.

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Upon instructions of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Egco rushed to Pangasinan last week after receiving reports that two men riding a motorcycle waylaid and shot dwPR radio commentator and Northern Watch columnist Virgilio Maganes.

Together with Senior Supt. Henry Ibay of Task Force Usig, Egco visited Maganes at a local hospital where he was being treated for a gunshot wound below his right armpit.

Egco said police were immediately dispatched to search for Maganes’ attackers.

“We have asked the PNP [Philippine National Police] regional director and provincial director to leave no stone unturned to find the perpetrators and mastermind of this attack. This is the first case of violence against media that I will be handling,” he added.

Police have been assigned to provide security for Maganes, and Egco said this will now be the standard operating procedure for journalists who have been attacked or are under serious threat.

Other forms of assistance will be provided to the radio commentator as he recuperates from his wounds.

In another incident, the PTFoMS executive director formally requested last November 14 the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (PNP-DIDM) to investigate death threats received by dzXL news anchor Lourdes Escaros.

The news anchor received several threatening text messages, the last one saying, “Umayos ka Lourdes, kahit kelan walang magandang ginawa sayo si Duterte, mayabang ka, bilang na araw mo [Shape up Lourdes, for you Duterte has done nothing good. You’re arrogant. Your days are numbered].”

Police Senior Supt. Fausto Manzanilla has directed the PNP-DIDM to investigate the incident, conduct forensic examination of Escaros and provide security for her family.

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