Party-List Rep condemns journo killing

House Assistant Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Rowena Niña Taduran has condemned the killing of Manila Standard journalist Jesus Malabanan in Calbayog, Samar and has urged authorities to immediately solve the crime.

Taduran said Malabanan’s death is totally unacceptable, especially at this time when the government has taken a proactive stance to prevent violence against journalists.

“I am shocked at how journalists are being silenced by bullets. Their courage stems from their desire to tell the truth. We must not allow violence to kill that flame,” Taduran said in a news statement.

She admitted that the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) under its Executive Director Joel Egco is doing its best to protect media workers, “but media need more than the mere help of a government agency; media workers need a law to give them security. And that’s what the Media Workers Welfare Bill aims to provide, to allow them to continue fulfilling their jobs,” she added.

Taduran said the House has already passed the bill which now pends in the Senate.

Acting on the case, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, has formed a special investigation task group to look into Malabanan’s murder, and assured they are “doing its best” to identify and nab the suspect.

“Establishing the motive of the case can help us in going to the bottom of this. We just need the cooperation of the witnesses,” Carlos said Thursday.

The PNP task group includes teams from the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Forensic Group, Regional Intelligence Unit, and the Calbayog City Police Station. The PRO 8 Deputy Regional Director for Operations heads the task group.

Manila Standard correspondent Malabanan, 58, was reportedly watching television in his store at Barangay San Joaquin, Tinambacan District, when a gunman shot him in the head at around 6:30 p.m.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival. He was 58 years old. Witnesses said they could not identify the gunman because it was dark but they saw him fleeing the crime scene together with a companion, on a motorcycle.

PTFoMS Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, for his part, assured  they will get to the bottom of this and will stop at nothing in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”

Egco who was formerly with the Manila Standard himself said “Jess is a personal friend of mine and this cowardly killing in the midst of a pandemic is truly unforgivable.” He assured Malabanan’s family PTFoMS will not sleep until the perpetrators are apprehended.