PNP activates TF Usig’s regional arms to solve media slay cases

Published by rudy Date posted on April 8, 2009

In a bid to hasten the solution of murders cases involving journalists, politicians and activists, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa yesterday ordered the activation of the PNP Task Force Usig’s regional units.

Verzosa said the regional Task Force Usig units will be stationed in the different police regional offices and will be comprised of investigators from the local PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Scene of the Crime Operations teams, Highway Patrol Group and Police Community Relations Group. These units are tasked to conduct follow-up operations on the murder cases involving journalists.

The Task Force Usig regional units will be headed by the police regional office deputy director, Verzosa added.

“The Task Force Usig regional units will be focusing their efforts in solving the killings in their area of jurisdiction,” the PNP chief said.

Verzosa said the regional units of Task Force Usig will supervise the investigation of all cases in the local level and will coordinate closely with the PNP-Directorate for Investigative and Detective Management for the immediate resolution of these cases.

At the same time, Verzosa called on victims of extra-judicial killings to cooperate with police authorities for the speedy resolution of their cases.

The PNP’s activation of the Task Force Usig’s regional arms was in adherence to the directive of President Arroyo for the police establishment to speed up the resolution of the murder cases involving politicians, media men and members of militant groups.

Aside from conducting follow-up operations on the murder cases, Verzosa also instructed the Task Force Usig regional units to attend to the needs of the victims, particularly on the concerns on their personal safety.

“If there are serious, validated threats to their life, we are ready to give them police security,” he said.

Verzosa, however, lamented that some victims who have reportedly received death threats have refused offers from the police to be provided with security escorts.

He cited the case of Radio Mindanao Network-dxDC Davao reporter Elgin Damasco, who refused police security after he received threats on his life.

Although he refused to avail of police security, Verzosa said PNP personnel were tasked to secure the surrounding areas of his home as part of their sworn mission to protect civilians with death threats.

Verzosa moreover said the regional units of Task Force Usig would have “expanded functions” that would allow them to provide security to victims of “harassment” as well as their family members. –Gina Peralta-Elorde, Daily Tribune

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