THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has taken over the case of The Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas who received death threats following his testimony at the impeachment proceedings of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.
The National Press Club (NPC) said PTFoMS executive director Joel Sy Egco gave assurances that the task force will provide protection to Canlas.
The NPC strongly condemned the threats against the senior Times reporter which, it said, “clearly showed that much work needed to be done to address the prevailing culture of impunity in the country.”
“With the PTFoMS immediately taking over the case of Canlas as assured to me by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, it raised our optimism that no further harm can come to him and that those behind this cowardly act shall soon be unmasked,” NPC President Paul M. Gutierrez said in a statement.
The security to be provided to Canlas was confirmed by Manila Police District (MPD) Spokesman Erwin Margarejo.
Gutierrez lauded members of the MPD for assisting Canlas when he went to the police on Monday to report that he has been receiving threatening text messages.
Canlas filed a report before the MPD General Assignment and Investigation Section (MPD-GAIS) where Chief
Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, MPD director, met him.
Canlas filed the same report before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“This is a serious case, this should not be disregarded especially when it seems to be connected with his testimony at the House,” Coronel told reporters.
“The NPC also lauds the decision of colleague Jomar Canlas to immediately report the threat of being murdered sent to him via text messages and not treat the matter lightly, which has been the mistake of our other colleagues who had come to harm,” Gutierrez said.
Last week, Canlas testified at the House as a resource person in the impeachment complaint against Sereno who has been accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption.
“This incident clearly showed that violence and threats of violence against the media are not only prevalent in the countryside where the majority of victims are community-based journalists but that they can happen anywhere to included urban-based journalists like Canlas. Despite the collective efforts of the media community and other stakeholders, the culture of impunity in the country remains strong and that much work still needs to be done,” Gutierrez said.