DOJ sets guides for cases that involve media

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have come up with guidelines on the preliminary investigation and trial of cases involving media and political-related killings.

The new guidelines seek to ensure the coordination between the DOJ-attached agency National Prosecution Service and other concerned agencies.

The DOJ and the DILG recently signed the joint guidelines that will implement Administrative Order 181-2007 to ensure cooperation of prosecutors and law enforcement investigators in the investigation, case build-up, inquest and preliminary investigation and trial of cases pertaining to political activist and media killings.

In Cebu City, there are two cases of media killings being tried in court. The first one is the murder case against Alfredo Arcenio, the former mayor of Lezo town in Aklan Province, who is accused of shooting to death Bombo Radyo-Aklan station manager Herson “Boy” Hinolan in 2004.

The other case involves Amador Paz, the driver of a motorcycle used as getaway vehicle in the shooting of broadcaster Rolando Ureta, who is also from Aklan.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in a statement posted in the agency’s website, said the guidelines were developed during the incumbency of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Convictions

"This is an effort to converge knowledge, experience, talents and resources of officers from two separate departments to ensure convictions of political and media killings,” said de Lima.

The guidelines task government prosecutors and investigators to cooperate during case build-up and evidence-gathering after authorities declare the incidents to be political activist or media killings.

A group of prosecutors and investigators from the police and the National Bureau of Investigation will convene to identify witnesses, assist in the preparation of affidavits and evaluate the crime scene for the filing of case.

The group will file the appropriate complaint before the city or provincial prosecutor.

The group will continue to convene to gather additional evidence.

Inquest

When a probable cause is found after inquest or preliminary investigation, the city or provincial prosecutor will approve the resolution.

Once the case is filed in court, the Office of the Clerk of Court is tasked to state that the case is either political activist or media killing.

The case should also be raffled off to a designated special court.
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