Chiz Escudero asks authorities to hasten probe on news team's ambush

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero condemned in the strongest terms the ambush of a three-member ABS-CBN News team in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on Dec. 26, as he called on authorities to speed up the investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Escudero said the assassination attempt on reporter Ronnie Enderes, cameraman Emelito Balansag and driver Garry Montecillo was “a serious attack against press freedom.”

“There is no doubt that the ambush was work-related. Although no one was seriously injured, it is important that authorities go after those responsible for the incident and put them behind bars, otherwise there will be no end to the culture of impunity against journalists,” Escudero said.

The Iligan City-based news crew was in Marawi to gather updates on the Dec. 24 bombing of a tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in Ramain town when they were attacked by motorcycle-riding gunmen.

The three survived unscathed but the shooting damaged their vehicle.

This year alone, seven Filipino journalists were killed; the latest among them is Jose Bernardo, a radio dwIZ correspondent and columnist of tabloid Bandera Pilipino.

A lone gunman shot dead Bernardo in front of a restaurant in Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City on Oct. 21. He suffered two gunshot wounds in the head and died on the spot.

Bernardo was the 32nd journalist to be killed under the Aquino administration and the third in Quezon City. Many of the killings of journalists remained unresolved.

Last August, Escudero also denounced the strafing of the coffee shop owned by ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna by still unidentified gunmen.

The veteran lawmaker said that all means must be exhausted to put a stop to the crime against media personnel, who are only doing their job.

Escudero lamented that authorities had not delivered significant results in solving cases of media killings and violence.

He said further media killings and violence would have been prevented had previous cases been solved and those responsible punished.


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