Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III renewed his call for the Senate to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation on the spate of media killings in the aftermath of a recent murder against a local radio broadcaster in Bohol.
At the same time, he also called on police authorities to exert extra efforts in arresting the killers of media practitioners “because we cannot allow impunity to reign especially at the expense of press freedom.”
Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, denounced the ambush-slaying of Maurito Lim of Tagbiliran City, saying the savage media attack again blotted the country’s image being among the five most dangerous places for journalists in the world.
The Mindanao senator recently filed a Senate resolution seeking an investigation into the media killings mostly in Mindanao in order to get to the bottom of the worsening cases, the 34th since President Aquino assumed office in 2010.
Pimentel also expressed dismay at the slow resolution of work-related cases, listed by Press watchdogs at 80 journalists murders since 1992, and at the failure of authorities to arrest the murder suspects and their accomplishes.
He noted that the alleged gunmen have either escaped or remained at large and police investigating the murders are usually facing a blank wall because of the refusal of witnesses to cooperate for fear of their own lives.
In the latest World Press Freedom Index, the Philippines improved to 141st from last year’s 149th place among 180 countries, but Pimentel said police inability to resolve pending murder cases and the increase in new media attacks would again pull the country down.