MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday, December 9, announced that PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos had already mobilized a task group to probe the killing of journalist Jess Malabanan in Samar.
“The PNP is doing its best to immediately identify and arrest the person responsible for Malabanan’s death. I instructed the Regional Director of Police Regional Office 8 to create a special investigation task group (SITG) to expedite the resolution of this case,” PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.
According to the PNP chief, the SITG will be composed of teams from the Samar Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Forensic Group, Regional Intelligence Unit, and the Calbayog City police.
On Wednesday, December 8, Malabanan was gunned down inside his store in Calbayog City while he was watching television. According to the PNP, witnesses did not identify the gunman who fled the scene with his companion using a motorcycle.
The PNP added that the SITG was obtaining closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage that may help in the investigation.
“Checkpoint operations in possible exit points were immediately conducted to intercept the suspects. The SITG is now obtaining copies of CCTV footage that may help in the ongoing probe,” the PNP said.
The PNP chief also said that the task group would coordinate with Malabanan’s family.
“We understand the call of the family and different groups to expedite the investigation of the case. These requests will not fall on deaf ears. Establishing the motive of the case can help us in going to the bottom of this. We just need the cooperation of the witnesses,” Carlos said.
Based on the data of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Malabanan was the 22nd journalist to be killed since President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power in 2016. Just last October, a journalist based in Davao del Sur was also killed inside his house.
Orlando “Dondon” Dinoy, was killed inside his apartment on Mother Ignacia Street in Poblacion Uno, Bansalan town on October 30. – Rappler.com