Police see no pattern in media killings
MANILA, Philippines–After three separate incidents of media killings were reported in a span of two weeks, police said Thursday they found no common pattern in the deaths.
“At this early stage of investigation, there are no peculiar indications of a link that can connect the three incidents,” said Director General Alan Purisima, Philippine National Police chief.
Barely a week after the death of broadcasters Michael Milo in Surigao del Sur province last December 6 and Joas Dignos last November 29 in Bukidnon province, radio journalist Rogelio Butalid was gunned down on Wednesday in Davao.
As part of the Task Force Usig mandate, regional police offices in Bukidnon, Surigao and Davao formed special investigation task groups to look into the death of the media men in those provinces.
Purisima assured national media organizations that the special investigation task groups composed of crime investigators, forensic examiners, legal team, intelligence support and local police, will focus on those incidents.
PNP spokesperson Reuben Theodore Sindac, meanwhile, gave an update on the status of one of the cases of the slain broadcasters.
“In the case of Dignos, Northern Mindanao police has filed a case for Murder against an identified suspect and several John Does. The suspect was identified thru a computerized facial composite provided by NBI based on descriptions provided by a key witness,” he said.
Joas Dignos, a blocktime commentator at dxGT Radyo Abante based in Maramag town, Bukidnon, was shot and killed by two motorcycle-riding assailants around 9:30 p.m.
In the killing of Milo, the police initially ruled out the motive as work-related in the light of other possible motives, such as his strained relationship with his estranged wife and in-laws.
Milo was driving his motorcycle when shot dead by three men, who were also on board a motorcycle, on his way home at 4:30 p.m.
Sindac said the fact that the radio station Milo was working for is not engaged in hard-hitting commentaries but in promotion of alternative natural healing products.
“It was also reported that he figured in a fight with another person last November,” he said in a statement.
The investigation group is still looking into the killing of Butalid.
Butalid, a block timer for 107.9 FM Radyo Natin and a councilor for Mankilam village, was killed past 9 a.m. after his hourlong program.
But Sindac said the police have already come up with an artist’s sketch of the gunman based on descriptions provided by a witness.
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