The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) was hailed by media workers themselves and family members of victims, citing the task force’s moves to seek justice for the victims.
Virgilio Maganes, a columnist of Pangasinan-based Northern Watch and commentator of dwPR Radyo Asenso, thanked PTFoMS for its prompt action on his case that resulted in the arrest of a suspect behind his botched assassination on November 8, 2016.
Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, head of PTFoMS, reported that police operatives led by Deputy Chief of Police Rodrigo Lubiano in Urdaneta City arrested Michael Prado y Tagle, 33, a resident of Puelay village in Villasis town last June 10 by virtue of a warrant of arrest dated April 3, 2017 issued by Judge Junius Dalaten of Regional Trial Court Branch 50.
Prado was the suspect in the failed ambush of Maganes.
“I am very grateful for the help of PTFoMS, especially President Rodrigo Duterte who has shown his deep concern for media workers’ safety by creating the task force,” Maganes said.
Egco, himself a former media man, visited Maganes in Pangasinan and since then did not leave any stone unturned to solve the slay attempt.
Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations was instrumental in the signing of President Duterte of Executive Order 2 creating PTFoMS.
In the case of Catanduanes News Now publisher Larry Que, who was gunned down on December 19, 2016, his wife Edralyn Pangilinan expressed indebtedness to PTFoMS after the investigation pointed to Gov. Joseph Cua as the mastermind of the murder.
Pangilinan and Marlon Suplig, also a local broadcaster, filed charges of murder with the Department of Justice against Cua, a certain Prince Subion and police officers Vincent Tacorda and Dan Bagay.
“We are thankful for the sincerity of the Duterte government in serving justice for slain media men. We are aware of the PTFoMS’ sacrifices. The task force has provided security for our family as we go along this long fight for justice,” Pangilinan said.
Justice Assistant Secretary Juvy Manwong said a panel of prosecutors has been formed to handle the case of Que.
“This proves that President Duterte pays no lip service to the people he promised to serve. We are forever grateful to him and the people behind PTFoMS,” Suplig said.
Last week, six of the biggest media groups in the country issued a manifesto of support for Que’s family and friends’ quest for justice.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any and all forms of violence against media workers and likewise strongly urge all those concerned to expedite the resolution of this case,” said the group composed of Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility; Paul Gutierrez, president of National Press Club; Ryan Rosauro, chairman of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines; Ruperto Nicdao Jr., president of Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas; Nelson Santos, president of Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc.; and Ariel Sebellino, executive director of Philippine Press Institute.