THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), the country’s biggest organization of active members of the press, condemned the killing of a journalist in Pangasinan on Tuesday, November 10. The organization said the murder highlighted the urgent call for newly-installed Chief PNP, P/MGen. Debold Sinas, to prioritize the resolution of cases involving attacks against the media.
“We condemn the cold-blooded murder of our fellow journalist, Virigilio Maganes, early today, occurring as it did at a time when all of us remain under threat from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said said NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez.
“We call on the government to act with swiftness in having those behind this dastardly act identified and prosecuted,” added Gutierrez.
“Occurring as it did on the day a new chief of our Philippine National Police, P/MGen. Debold Sinas, is installed into office, we call on him to prioritize the resolution of this incident, if only to show that he deserves his promotion, and with it the trust of the public in his leadership,” said Gutierrez.
Reports reaching the NPC disclosed that Maganes was killed when he stepped out of his house in Bgy. San Blas, Villasis, Pangasinan, about 6:45 a.m. to buy something at a local store.
At least two unidentified gunmen shot and killed the journalist before escaping on a motorcycle.
Maganes sustained four gunshot wounds to the head and body. It was the second slay try on Maganes since last year, said his cousin, Ernie Sarmiento, a Manila-based photojournalist.
Gutierrez noted that Maganes, a local journalist and broadcaster, was the second member of the local press killed even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the country.
On May 5, 2020, Dumaguete City broadcast journalist, Rex Cornelio Pepino, was also gunned down.
The NPC noted that the quest for justice for Pepino has been hampered after Sinas, as NCRPO police director, had the two policemen-suspects, PMES Melgin Drona Bulandres and Reuel Divinagracia Piñero, transferred to his office and denied efforts by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security to have them questioned about Pepino’s killing.
“As the new Chief PNP, the NPC hopes that Gen. Sinas would now do his best to earn the trust and confidence of the public and the media community by making sure that threats and violence against journalists are promptly attended to and resolved,” Gutierrez said.