PGMA looks into welfare of mediamen
by A. Lumaque
Roxas City (16 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has brought into another level her concern for the country's media practitioners as she signed recently an Administrative Order 181 that would help ensure the success of the investigation and prosecution of political and media killings.
The AO directed the NPS of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to "work closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) "from the beginning of a criminal investigation until the termination of cases in court."
Last month, the President presided a top level meeting attended by top officials of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and representatives of media organizations to review efforts in the prosecution and prevention of media killings.
The meeting received a positive reaction from the Capiz Independent Media Circle (CIMC) who expressed gratitude over recent moves of the government to map out ways to curb media killings.
To ensure continuity, AO 181 tasked the NPS to "assign, to the fullest extent possible, a public prosecutor at the start of a criminal investigation who shall assist or handle a case involving a political or media killing throughout the criminal proceedings, except in the conduct of the preliminary investigation thereof."
On the other hand, the preliminary investigation shall be conducted by a "separate and different prosecutor from the prosecutor who… is assigned to assist or handle the case through most of the criminal proceedings."
Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye, a lawyer, said President Arroyo "has declared that resolving these cases is top priority and that this AO empowers key agencies to act quickly and effectively to convict the killers of activists and media."
For its part, the PNP has defined "media killings" as "killings of present members of broadcast and print media/newsmen which were perpetrated by reason of the victim's nature of work or related thereto." (PIA) [top]