Philippines determined to end political killings, go after culprits — Bunye

Jun. 19, 2007

MANILA — Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye reiterated over the weekend that Malacaang is determined to go after assassins of journalists and put an end to all extra-judicial killings.

No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has emphasized the governments policy of zero tolerance for extra-judicial killings, Bunye said in his weekly column, “The View from the Palace,” that comes out tomorrow (Monday, June 18).

“Certainly, the political will to go after killers of journalists and prevent political killings is not wanting,” he said.

In her remarks before representatives of various media organizations, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week in Malacanang, the President stressed: “First of all, let me once again deplore the killings of journalists.”

Deploring the countrys long history of political violence, the President said she intends to “break this cycle of violence once and for all.”

Represented at the Malacanang meeting were the National Press Club (NPC), Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC), Kapisananan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Malacanang Press Corps (MPC), Defense Press Corps and the PNP Press Corps.

The President had earlier tapped former Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Melo to head the commission to investigate the extra-judicial killings.

In its report to the President, the Melo Commission recommended the creation of special courts, the adoption of stronger witness protection measures, and allocation of additional funds for the investigation and prosecution of the cases against the culprits.

The actions taken by the President send a “strong signal that this administration is determined to stop these killings and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the perpetrators of such despicable deeds,” Bunye said. (PIA Dispatch)

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