TAGUM CITY—A local court has issued a warrant of arrest order against suspected killers of radio broadcaster Rogelio “Tata” Butalid who was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen last December.
Judge Virginia D. Tejano-Ang of the Regional Trial Court Branch 1 handed down the arrest warrant on September 10.
In a phone interview, Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon confirmed to DavaoToday Tuesday the issuance of the arrest order.
“The case was raffled on September 9 and on the following day; the warrant of arrest was issued by the same court. I received the copy of the arrest order last Monday, September 15,” Rellon said.
Rellon said the warrant of arrest was already endorsed from the court to PNP-Tagum and other concerned agencies like the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, among others.
“As of the moment, we are waiting for their immediate action. We are hoping that the suspects will be apprehended as soon as possible,” he said.
When sought for the details of identified suspects, Rellon said:”I didn’t bother to ask them because the investigation is already intelligence-driven and I don’t want to pre-empt the authorities handling this case.”
Rellon said that he wanted “the whole process to be organized so that authorities could locate the suspect as soon as possible.”
“Although I am not privy of their strategies as to how they are going to locate the suspects, I am confident that the suspects will be apprehended anytime soon,” said Rellon.
Rellon warned the suspects not to resist or else they will be killed, citing recent police operations in Makulay restaurant and in Apokon in this city where law offenders were shot dead because they resisted to authorities.
“A shoot to kill order is likely, in case they would resist,” said Rellon.
Rellon is also not categorical as to whether or not the motive behind the killing is “”political.”
“It’s hard for me to comment as to what is the motive behind the killing despite the development that we have now because the case is already in the court. What is important is that we have suspects that could give us essential information to help us resolve this case.”
“If these suspects will be caught alive then we could extract important information from them,” Rellon emphasized.
It can be recalled that days after Butalid’s death, Mayor Allan Rellon ordered the creation of Task Force Butalid—a special task group to expedite the investigation of the case.
A reward money of P 100, 000.00 was set aside, aside from the reward money from other organizations and individuals.
“I instructed my Chief of police to make a scheme as to who will receive the bounty. I want that all people who contributed critical information since the beginning of this case—from the informant until the case was processed including those who served the warrant of arrest and other persons who will lead to the arrest of the suspects—dead or alive—will have a share from the bounty,” said Rellon.
Rogelio “Tata” Butalid, 44, blocktime commentator for Radyo Natin in Tagum, was also employed as information personnel of DANECO-NEA. In his radio program “Ang Kamutuoran (The Truth)”, he discussed the rift involving Daneco-CDA issues.
At the time of his death, Butalid was the second broadcast journalist to be killed in Tagum City since 1996.
According to the the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, Butalid was the 21st media worker murdered since President Benigno Aquino III came to office in 2010.
The NUJP-Davao City Chapter and Bugkos Media Action group have condemned the killing and blamed the inaction of the government to resolved the media killings in the country. (davaotoday.com)