MALACAÑANG vowed Sunday to bring to the bar of justice those who killed Joash Dignos, a commentator of dxGT radio station in Bukidnon province on Friday, November 29.
Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operation Office said the Aquino administration condemns the incident.
"We condemn the killing in Valencia City, Bukidnon of Joas Dignos, a broadcaster of station dxGT," he said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now conducting hot pursuit operations against the suspected assailants who gunned down Dignos on Friday night, he said.
"Police authorities are under instructions to exert utmost efforts in bringing the assailants to the bar of justice," Coloma said.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to solve the killings of journalists, broadcasters, and media practitioners through the combined efforts of all concerned government agencies.
The PNP is strengthening its investigative arms, while the Department of Justice (DOJ) is beefing up its battery of prosecutors assigned to build and file cases, as well as closely monitor the trial of accused persons, he said.
"We are determined to end the culture of impunity that has brought about these media killings and we call on the citizens to support our efforts," Coloma said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Dignos was the 19th journalist killed under the Aquino administration.
HRW: Probe fully
The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the killing of another journalist on Friday evening should prompt the Aquino administration to revisit its views about media killings in the Philippines and more importantly, ensure that recent murder and the ones before it are investigated fully.
“According to Philippine media groups, there are now as many as 24 journalists and media workers murdered during the administration of President Aquino. It is distressing that the President’s spokesman, Sonny Coloma, thought of these killings as ‘not that serious’ when, in fact, they tear at the fabric of the democracy the president’s mother helped to establish,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of HRW, said in a statement.
Kine added that it is insulting to the victims and their families that the Aquino administration has not only failed to deliver on its promise to end impunity for extrajudicial killings but also sought to downplay these attacks against media workers.
“It is insulting to the victims and their families that the Aquino administration has not only failed to deliver on its promise to end impunity for extrajudicial killings but also sought to downplay these attacks against media workers.”
Dignos was radio blocktimer of dxGT Radyo Abante in Maramag town in Bukidnon. His program “Bombardeyo” aired from 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning from Monday to Friday.
He was last heard on air morning of Thursday, November 28. He tackled the issue against the son-in-law of Valencia City Mayor Jose M. Galario, who is the city administrator of Valencia.
“He was discussing something on financial matters,” Balandra said.
Dignos was a known critic of Galario.
In 2006, Dignos earned the ire of Mayor Jose M. Galario Jr., who ordered the closure of Valencia City-based dxVR, one of RMN’s stations.
Dignos was quoted in reports to have vowed to file administrative charges against Galario for allegedly threatening to kill him.
In 2003, Galario also ordered the padlocking of dxMV.
On June 26, 2013, an explosion rocked radio station dxGT that wounded a 21-year-old working student.
Two men riding a motorcycle lobbed a grenade at dxGT while a replay of Dignos' recorded program was playing.
DxGT Radyo Abante is an affiliate of the Iddes Broadcast Group Inc.
Earlier, Cocoy Medina, dxGT program director, told NUJP that Dignos had been taping his program at that time since he started receiving death threats on his cellphone.
The NUJP said the motive for the killing has yet to be established. If work-related, Digos would be the 19th work-related case of media killing under the Aquino administration.
Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro tried to get updates on the case of Dignos from the PNP regional spokesperson Senior Superintendent Michael Pareja, but failed. (With SDR of Sunnex)