MANILA - Senator Grace Poe called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide media professionals a direct line to police authorities in the wake of increasing crimes against journalists.
In a Senate hearing of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Poe, joint with the committee on justice and human rights chaired by Senator Koko Pimentel, Police Supt. Henry Libay reported that out of 48 incidents of media killings since 2001, only six were resolved, with convictions.
"Media should have a direct line to the PNP. So that if there is any threat, they will feel they have protection," Poe stressed.
"Unfortunately, the police would be involved in some cases. It is important to establish a reliable direct line that the media can trust. Yung bulok na itlog sa kaing, yun ang nagpapasira. Hindi naman lahat kayo ganyan," the senator added.
Poe also called on the interagency commission on extrajudicial killings to submit a progress report to the committee and put a media representative to coordinate on its efforts.
The senator joined the National Press Club (NPC) headed by Joel Sy Egco and the National Confederation of ASEAN Journalists headed by Benny Antiporda in calling for the prompt resolution of journalists' killings, particularly the recent murder of Robelita "Rubie" Garcia, whose son spoke at the hearing.
"Kahit anumang dahilan sa pagapatay sa iyong nanay, iyan ay mali dahil yan ay krimen," Poe told Garcia's son.
NPC's Egco acknowledged Poe's efforts in addressing threats against the life of Senate dzRJ/Saksi reporter Celestino "Jojo" Sicat.
Poe earlier called up PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac to assist in protecting Sicat.
The senator also acknowledged NPC's efforts to protect the family of Garcia, who was turned over to the Witness Protection Program on May 19.
According to PNP's Libay, 36 out of the 48 incidents of media killings have been filed in court: 12 on trial; 6 archived; 6 resolved with convictions; 4 resolved with acquittal; and 5 dismissed.