Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said his office has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to probe the killing of Manila Standard reporter Jesus “Jess”Malabanan.
Egco said he will go to Samar to personally oversee the probe into the slaying of Malabanan, who was shot at close range to the head inside his store in Brgy. San Joaquin, Tinambacan District, Calbayog City on Wednesday night.
Egco has assured Malabanan’s family the Presidential Task Force will not leave stones unturned in the investigation until the perpetrators are apprehended.
The PNP is currently conducting “hot pursuit operation” to apprehend the suspects who reportedly fled towards the direction of San Isidro, Northern Samar.
The San Isidro Police has also been alerted of the crime and were tasked to “conduct checkpoint for possible identity and arrest of the fleeing suspects,” according to PLt Nieto B Rarugal of the Calbayog City Police Station. “Jess is a personal friend of mine.
This cowardly killing in the midst of a pandemic is truly unforgivable. We will get to the bottom of this and will stop at nothing in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this despicable crime,” said Egco.
Malabanan had been covering Pampanga province for the Manila Standard and Reuters and is a member of the Pampanga Press Club (PPC), the oldest media organization in the Philippines.
Both the Pampanga Press Club and the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP)-Pampanga Chapter, have condemned the slaying of Malabanan, who has no known enemies in Pampanga province.