Friday, September 17, 2021

CCPC seeks police creation of task force. Staffer or block-timer, broadcaster Rey Cortes was a media worker

THE Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) requests the police to investigate thoroughly and speedily the killing of dyRB broadcaster Reynante "Rey" Cortes who hosted the commentary program "Engkwentro" on dyRB in Cebu City. Cortes was gunned down Thursday morning, July 22, right outside the radio station in Mambaling.

Whether he was a regular staff member or block-timer of dyRB does not change this fact: He was a media practitioner whose killers should be arrested and prosecuted.

Cortes's murder, under Standard Operating Procedure 2012-006 dated November 12, 2012 was deemed a "heinous and sensational crime." The case requires an investigation by an SITG or Special Investigation Task Group. Media practitioners are included in the same category as vice governors, PB members, mayors, vice mayors, councilors, barangay captains and councilors, judges, prosecutors and lawyers, and militants.

Media workers are not special people and do not expect special treatment. The local community of journalists will be content with diligent crime investigation that, sadly, people had not seen applied to similar cases of violence against media workers and other high-profile personalities. An SITG inquiry may help cut down public skepticism.

Given the total of 223 cases of attacks and threats against media since 2016 (as of May 1, 2021), CCPC worries about how another unsolved murder of a media worker could heighten the state of impunity that various sectors of society, not just the press, fear and condemn. If a media worker's life could be easily snuffed out, violence could replace democracy's regular means of discourse.

The Cortes murder appears to be work-related but even if it were not, it was still a disruption of Cebu's peace and order, a desecration of community values should it go unpunished.

Atty. Pachico A. Seares

Executive director

Cebu Citizens-Press Council


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