The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday there were significant developments in the cases of the three journalists who were murdered in Mindanao in the past two weeks.
Malacanang has directed the PNP to intensify its hunt for the suspects in the killing of Michael Diaz Milo in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur; Jash Dignos of Valencia City, Bukidnon, and Rogelio Butalid in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
PNP Public Information chief, Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said “Task Force Usig” is monitoring the progress of three Special Investigation Task Groups (SITGs) that were formed to look into the killings.
“At this early stage of investigation, there are no peculiar indications of a link that can connect the three incidents… the SITG do not see any common pattern among the cases,” Sindac said in a press briefing in Camp Crame.
Each task group is composed of crime investigators backed by forensic examiners, legal team, intelligence support, and local police.
In the case of Dignos, Sindac said murder charges have been filed by Northern Mindanao Regional Police office against one identified suspect and several others.
Sindac said the suspect was identified through a computerized facial composite provided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and based on a witness’ description.
He said investigators have initially ruled out the killing of Milo as work-related, since his radio station was not engage in hard-hitting commentaries.
“SITG initially ruled-out work related… other possible motives such as his strained relationship with his estranged wife and in-laws, and his radio station is not engaged in commentaries, but in the promotion of alternative natural healing products,” Sindac said.
He said the task group looking into the killing of Butalid has an artist’s sketch of the gunman based as described by a witness.