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PIA Press Release
2008/08/21

Full, immediate cooperation of victims' families indispensable, says DOJ official

Manila (21 August) -- Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and concurrent Chairman of Task Force Against Political Violence and Extrajudicial Killings (TF211) stated that, "the speedy resolutions of the last three cases of media killings were realized because of the complete and full cooperation of the victims' families."

This came in the wake of the recent apprehension and filing of murder charges against the assailants of RMN commentator Martin Roxas of Roxas City and the filing of charges on the alleged assailants of another RMN commentator, Dennis Cuesta of General Santos City in just a span of two weeks.

Blancaflor said, "the speedy investigation and subsequent filing of those cases came about because of the close cooperation extended by the families of the victims."

"We are pushing for final convictions so that the deaths of our media professionals and the sufferings of their loved ones shall never be in vain. The Arroyo administration is not letting down its guards until these killings are stopped," he added.

Blancaflor further said, "I am renewing my call and reiterating my pledge to put a decisive halt to the violence being perpetuated against media practitioners and reduce the list of pending cases filed in various courts nationwide".

"If these killings continue, and God forbid they don't, we appeal to the victims' families to get in touch with the Task Force by volunteering vital and fresh information that would lead to the arrests of the perpetrators and their masterminds and would expedite government trials against them," he said.

Blancaflor also asked them to check with Task Force 211 regarding the progress and/or status of these media-related killing cases so that the government can revive "cold cases" that might have been gathering dust in various government offices in the country.

While suspected assailants have been arrested and charged in court, he explained that the final convictions of these perpetrators and masterminds shall hopefully become an effective deterrent to the spate of these media killings.

He assured the victims' families or anyone who may have information that would advance these media-killing cases towards their final resolution, that the government will provide confidentiality and protection under the Witness Protection Program.

"The spate of political killings can not be resolved by the government alone. TF 211, along with various law enforcement agencies, requires the support and cooperation of all.

the stakeholders so that these political killings plaguing our free society would become a thing of the past," he said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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