Melo Commission Report: Presentation of Witnesses/Resource Persons

Feb. 23, 2007

G. Presentation of Media groups

On November 21, 2006, the Commission met officers of the National Press Club (NPC) to discuss the killing of several media men and their chilling effect on press freedom.

The members of the media believed that they do not have the power to stop, much less control the killing of media men. The NPC officers cited the law enforcement component, including the evidence gathering, investigation, and prosecution systems, as well as political pressure, as the main problems that need to be addressed in order to solve these killings and to prevent future incidents. They stated that firm and effective law enforcement and prosecution are effective deterrents to this kind of killings.

The NPC said that the killing of journalists is most likely related to politicians or moneyed influential persons. Since many law enforcement authorities or policemen are under the wings of these politicians or influential persons, it is very difficult for law enforcement authorities to be effective.

The NPC cited the killing or wounding of the following media men and the suspects behind them:

a. Philip Agustin in Dingalan, Aurora, where the suspect is Mayor Ilarde;
b. Alberto Ursalino in Malabon City, where the suspect is a certain Jimenez;
c. Jonathan Abayon in General Santos City, where the suspect is an army technical sergeant;
d. Pablo Hernandez who received several threats and was stabbed several times but managed to survive. The suspect is a member of the maritime police force.

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