PNP maintains media killings ‘solved’

Published by rudy Date posted on March 24, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday claimed the 24 journalists’ murders the media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) tagged as “unsolved” have already been cracked, at least by the police’s own standards.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome said the 24 killings are among 26 for which charges have been filed in court since 2001 and are “already considered solved according to our own parameters.”

The New York-based CPJ ranked the Philippines the sixth among 14 countries with the most number of unsolved cases of journalists’ murders.

Director Raul Bacalzo, chief of Task Force Usig, said that they have filed 26 cases against 55 suspects involved in 31 work-related murders journalists since 2001.

Among the 55 suspects charged, 18 have been arrested, 10 have surrendered, four have been convicted, and three were killed in police encounters.

However, 20 other suspects remain at large, Bacalzo said.

Bacalzo said of the 26 cases, police are investigating the involvement of the New People’s Army (NPA), soldiers, policemen, and even mayors.

Bartolome said they are also open to the suggestion of creating special courts to handle all cases involving attacks on journalists, as these will help in the immediate prosecution of the suspects.

“Certainly, special courts for journalist’s slay will be similarly successful in expediting solution of cases of murdered newsmen,” Bartolome said.

Earlier, the PNP said it was forming “tracker teams” to hunt down the remaining 20 suspects. Bartolome also said the PNP is coordinating with local media organizations to identify journalists under threat.

“We will also conduct risk assessment for these threatened journalists and possibly provide protective security if necessary,” he said.–Abigail Kwok, INQUIRER.net

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