Police team hunting reporter’s killer

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THE motive behind the killing of a radio reporter may be work related, police investigators said on Monday as a team was created to go after the gunman and his cohorts.

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Police Chief Supt. Alex de Jesus Alberto of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 5 said that Bernardo, DWIZ Metro Patrol Volunteer, DWBL AM radio correspondent and Banderang Pilipino Weekly columnist, received death threats before his attack.

Alberto said they disregarded the angle of love triangle because Bernardo’s partner is in Mindanao and his children were still small when he broke up with his first wife.

Police Chief Insp. Rodelio Marcelo of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit formed Special Investigation Task Group Jose to go after the killers of Bernardo.

National Press Club (NPC) President and The Manila Times senior reporter Joel Sy Egco condemned the killing of Bernardo, saying it is an “affront to press freedom and a blatant disregard for our constitutionally guaranteed right to practice journalism.”

“Regardless of the motive, murder or the taking of one’s life thru whatever means is a heinous crime and the suspects must be punished. This again shows the incapacity of the Aquino government to end journalist killings and this apathy toward the plight of
mediamen,” he added.

Bernardo was on board his motorcycle in front of a fastfood chain along Zabarte Road in Quezon City when an unidentified male repeatedly shot him. The victim died in hospital.

This developed as Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. vowed to exert all efforts to end the senseless killings of media and the culture of impunity in the country.

In his speech at the celebration of the National Press Club’s 63rd founding anniversary, Marcos noted that the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the third most dangerous place in the world for journalists, next only to war-torn Iraq and Syria.

Marcos believes the root of the problem lies in the fact that the role of media is largely misunderstood.

“Media is the special army among our citizenry, who, because of the nature of their profession, bring to light, speak and write those, which the general public would not have the capacity or the time, or would not even have the guts, to know about, let alone speak or write about,” he said.

On the other hand, Marcos said many of those in power mistakenly believe no one should dare to get in their way.

What makes matters worse, he noted, is that the investigation, prosecution and trial of cases of media killings often drag on and some arrested suspects even manage to get special treatment inside jail.

To address the problem, Marcos said there should be a constant effort to educate the people and public servants on the important role of media reminding likewise the people in power that even if unjustly accused they can take comfort in the “balm of a clear conscience.”

Marcos said the media industry should adopt an effective-self regulation system that allows for redress for those unjustly maligned.

“In order to address this complex cultural problem, we have to go down to the very root causes. As the Vice-President of the Republic, I will commit to devote my entire term to work out and implement the solutions pursuant to my analysis,” he said.

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