De Lima orders NBI to investigate killings of 3 journalists
MANILA, Philippines—Alarmed by the recent spate of media killings, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would investigate the slaying of three journalists in just a span of two weeks in Mindanao.
“These recent media killings are initially being investigated by the NBI for eventual referral to the Special Investigation Teams (SITs) created under Administrative Order no. 35,” De Lima said in text messages to reporters.
SITs are made up of prosecutors and investigators from the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP), in accordance to AO 35, which was created last year to look into media killings, torture and other enforced disappearance cases.
De Lima described the killing of three radio broadcasters — Rogelio Batulid of 107.9 FM Radyo Natin in Tagum City in Davao del Norte; Michael Nilo in Surigao del Sur and Joas Dignos in Bukidnon — as “a cause for concern as it is alarming.”
She said President Aquino was aware that the Philippine National Police and NBI automatically investigate these killings with the help of the SITs and Special Oversight Teams (SOTs).
These two teams were created under AO no. 35, which De Lima reminded was tasked to “address grave human rights violations, such as extra-judicial killings/extra-legal killings, enforced disappearance and torture.”
So far, there have been 27 journalists killed under the Aquino administration.
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