Palace reiterates protection for media workers

PRESIDENT Rodrigo ’Digong’ Duterte has vowed that his government will not stop until those behind acts of violence committed against the members of the working press are brought before the bar of justice. 

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also assured that the administration is committed to upholding the President’s promise that his government will never condone violence and repression of media.

“Rest assured that we in the government, through Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other stakeholders, will work without letup in ensuring justice for all victims of violence against members of the working press” Roque said. 

“We are committed to upholding the President’s promise that his government will never condone violence and repression of media” he continued.

Roque issued the statement shortly after emerging from a meeting with the families of the victims of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre in Malacanang Palace last November 23, during which President Duterte also assured them that justice will be delivered under his watch.

 

Long quest for justice

Aside from Duterte, the victims’ families were also met by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, who is also chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) and Task Force Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco.

The families who commemorated the 8th year of the gruesome crime went to see the President to personally seek his help in their long quest for justice against the powerful members of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao.

Roque described the meeting as cordial, candid and impassioned.

The President gave specific instructions to Aguirre, the PTFoMS and the state prosecutors handling the case who were present, to see to it that a conviction would be handed down to the principal accused the soonest time possible.

 

Financial assistance

He likewise instructed Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go, to arrange employment, scholarships and financial assistance to the families.

In return, the families expressed their profound gratitude to the president, who responded by saying that he is just fulfilling his duty as president to meet the ends of justice.

 

Optimism

President Duterte, a former prosecutor himself, even shared his thoughts on the dynamics and intricacies of the justice system, noting that even the right of the accused to be heard is sacred under our democratic rules. 

Nevertheless, he expressed optimism that the strength of the case against them— 188 respondents in all— will eventually lead to a verdict favorable to the victims.

To recall, it was President Duterte who was still Davao City mayor at the time of the incident, was among the first to extend help to the beleaguered families by providing them helicopter that located the site of the Maguindanao massacre.

 

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