Duterte to form superbody to probe media killings

Duterte to form superbody to probe media killings

- Right after his very public clash with media over unwanted remarks toward media killings, President Duterte is slated to create a new task force

- It will be directly under the Presidential Communications Office headed by Sec Andanar

- The task force will seek to find out the real motive of such murders

President Rodrigo Duterte is on to another project - that of forming a probe team to investigate the rampant media killings.

Duterte has been receiving criticisms for being very vocal about his belief that corrupt journalists who extort money are legitimate targets for media killings.

On his second week as the president, Duterte appears to be very keen on forming a “superbody” that will look into the murders of journalists in the country. He also designated Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar to lead this task force.

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In an interview, Secretary Andanar had told reporters that the multi-agency task force will include representatives from different news organizations, such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Duterte to form superbody to probe media killings

PCO Secretary Martin Andanar

(Photo credit: inquirer)

He clarified that the primary goal of the task force would be to seek out the real motive for such attacks. “It will let us ascertain the reasons why reporters are being killed—if they’re crusaders or just extortionists,” he added.

He also confirmed that this 'superbody' will host a regular media summit to open discussions between different media organizations on a monthly basis. According to Andanar, it will also provide assistance to families of slain journalists, he said.

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When told about the existence of Task Force 211, which was created by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to likewise investigate the journalist killings, the Secretary immediately discounted it due to it being broad. He said that aside from media killings, the body also covers murders of political activists.

“It’s too broad,” he said. “In the government, when something becomes too broad, you can’t accomplish anything.”

The creation of the task force was part of the comprehensive communications plan that he proposed to the president for approval when President Duterte appointed him as the head of the Presidential Communications Office (PCOO).

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“The President will issue an administrative order (AO) for it within this month,” Andanar told Inquirer last Thursday.

He confirmed that the AO for the creation of the super body will be before the day President Duterte is supposed to sign the executive order on Freedom of Information (FOI) allowing the public to access public documents of executive departments and agencies.

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