Palace condemns killing of Lanao-based journo; exec vows justice for victim
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has condemned the killing of a radio broadcaster from Lanao del Norte and a government official tasked to ensure media protection has vowed justice for the victim.
Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) executive director and Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco said Friday that the government denounces the killing of Audrey Estrada, the female broadcaster who was found dead in Lanao del Norte’s Bacolod town.
“The government condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of radio broadcaster Audrey Estrada,” Egco said in a statement.
“We send our deepest condolences to the family, loved ones, and colleagues of Ms. Estrada. Rest assured that this government will not rest until the perpetrator of this heinous crime is brought to justice,” he added.
Egco, a former journalist himself, assured relatives of the victim that they are already in talks with the Bacolod Municipal Police Station (MPS) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Media Security Vanguard for a thorough probe on the incident.
A report from Lt. Col. Salman Saad, information officer of the Lanao del Norte police, indicated that Estrada, 59, a widow, was found dead inside a house on Thursday morning after concerned citizens informed the local police about a stabbing incident.
Investigators said they found 15 stab wounds on Estrada’s body. The suspected murder weapon, a 13-inch knife, was also found near the crime scene.
The police have yet to reveal a likely motive for the killing of Estrada.
Egco said it is for these reasons that the Media Vanguard was instituted by the PNP and the communication sector in the Philippine government.
“We took this initiative for the designation of PNP officers as Media Vanguards as part of our proactive efforts to ensure the safety of media workers, especially during this critical period in Philippine history,” Egco said.
“In order to safeguard our much-cherished press freedom, we owe it to the Filipino people to put a stop to all perpetrators of violence against media workers,” he added.
Violent attacks on journalists in the country have been a grave concern over the years. Since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016, more than 20 journalists and media workers have been killed.
Data from the annual Impunity Index issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) showed that the Philippines is among the world’s deadliest places for journalists, with 13 murders still unsolved.
Between 1992 and 2021, or for almost three decades, the country has yet to solve the killing of 85 members of the media.
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