MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay called for a “thorough investigation” and immediate arrest of perpetrators behind Monday’s bombing in Cotabato City that left eight people dead.
“I strongly condemn the bombing in Cotabato City that claimed innocent lives. I call on the Cotabato police to do a thorough investigation and arrest the perpetrators at the soonest. The victims and their families deserve swift justice,” Binay said Monday.
“I also ask our kababayans (countrymen) to pray for the eternal rest of those who perished in the bombing and for the quick recovery of those injured. May their families be blessed with fortitude as they learn to accept and overcome this tragedy,” he said in a statement.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, meanwhile, expressed alarm over the recent spate of killings of members of the media.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent killings of journalists and urge the police to thoroughly investigate these cases and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate justice committee, said.
The government, he said, “must firmly put an end to the culture of impunity that allows the perpetrators to remain scot-free and thus commit murder and mayhem again and again.”
Pimentel specifically pointed to the recent killings in Quezon City of two columnists of a now-defunct tabloid— Richard Kho and Bonifacio Loreto. Their families believe that the twin murders were the result of their hard-hitting stance against wrongdoing by certain public officials.
The senator lamented that many cases of violence against journalists in the past had gone unsolved, with only a few having been arrested and prosecuted in court.
Pimentel then urged police authorities to prioritize the investigation of cases against journalists , saying that “freedom of the press is a hallmark of our democratic system and any curtailment of this freedom, whether through nuisance libel suits or harassment and outright murder of crusading journalists by hired killers, is a direct assault on our democracy as well.”