THE continuous increase in media killings in the country has alarmed not only media organizations but also the Senate, which has called for an inquiry today into the efforts of the Philippines National Police (PNP) to address the situation.
Senator Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said they have invited officials of the PNP including Director General Alan Purisima to update the committee on the spate of media killings and what the police are doing about it.
“What is important is for the PNP to report to us and find out the real situation regarding media killings, the number of arrests made by the police as well as the number of cases that have already been closed,” Poe said Monday, announcing the scheduled committee hearing today.
She said the committee would also like to know if the PNP has an existing system in addressing media killings as well as the factors that contributed to the increase.
Various media organizations here and abroad have expressed grave concern over the state of media killings in the Philippines, which now ranks second to Iraq in the highest number of murdered journalists.
The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) and the Confederation of Asean Journalists (CAJ) in a joint statement said the lack of political will of the government and the half-baked efforts by PNP leadership to run after perpetrators and the brains behind these attacks have worsened the situation.
The NPC has reported that 25 journalists have been murdered in the three-year-old administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, which translates to one journalist killed every two months.
The most recent is the killing of Richard Nadjib, the manager of a local radio station in Tawi-Tawi, which happened less than a month after Remate reporter Rubylita “Rubie” Garcia was murdered on April 6 in her house in Cavite province.
Poe said she will also ask for the PNP’s commitment to stop media killings and restore the media’s confidence in the national police.
She added there were unconfirmed reports that some members of the PNP are the ones threatening media practitioners.
Aside from the media killings the committee will also tackle cyber pornography and the efforts of the law enforcement agencies to stop it.