A very influential politician could be behind the murder of veteran journalist Dennis Denora in Panabo City, Davao del Norte last Thursday. This was the opinion made by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Friday after saying that Denora’s death appeared to be politically-motivated.
Undersecretary Joel Egco, the PTFoMS chief, said in fact, a “very influential politician” could be behind Denora’s killing.
“The initial report we received is that his killing has something to do with politics. I can’t give the name, we cannot say it’s (the) official (finding) but a politician with strong influence is one of the (suspects) that we got from the ground,” Egco said in a story published by Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday.
Egco said Denora’s killing came as a shock because the slain journalist had not reported any harassment prior to the attack.
“We didn’t get any report of him being harassed, he was not on the radar, meaning, there was no past records of him coming under attack, he was an old man and the incident was shocking,” Egco added.
Egco said he would be flying to Davao anytime to press investigators to come up with solid evidence against any suspect or suspects.
Denora, 67, publisher of the English weekly Trends and Times, died due to multiple gunshot wounds in the head after a lone gunmen shot him as his car stopped at a red light on the traffic junction in Barangay New Pandan in Panabo City past 1 p.m. Thursday.
Chief Insp. Frederick Deles, the acting chief of the Panabo City police, said the victim’s driver, who suffered minor wounds in the hand, was able to drive about 300 meters away in an apparent bid to escape from the assailant, who according to witnesses, fled on foot after the shooting.
Senior Supt. Alan Manibog, the Davao del Norte police chief, said all angles were being pursued to determine the motive in Denora’s killing, including the possibility that his killing could be work-related.
He said a special investigation task force (SITG) had already been created to probe Denora’s killing.
Denora’s colleagues expressed outrage over the his murder.
Aside from being a publisher and columnist, Denora also had an hour-long blocktime program over Luzon’s DXKS-FM in Tagum City.
Denora was also the founding chair of the Davao Region Multi Media Group (DREMMG), one of several media associations in Davao del Norte.
The Mindanao Independent Press Council, a broad-based organization of practicing journalists in the island, meanwhile condemned in the strongest terms the murder of Denora, a publisher of weekly newspaper Trends and Time based in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
“MIPC deeply values the work of local journalists who are at the forefront of shedding light on the issues facing their own communities. Often, they are the only voice standing against abuses, corruption, and impunity.
Sadly, the death of Denora is a stark reminder that journalists are not immune to impunity; in fact, they commonly bear the brunt of impunity from dark forces who are hostile to the notion of accountability and transparency which are the hallmarks of a free press.
MIPC calls on law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of Denora’s death, leaving no stone unturned to unmask his killer and the mastermind of this coldblooded murder.
We call on the government to strengthen safety and security guarantees for the working members of the press all over the country,” the MIPC stated.
“Denora’s death should serve as a challenge to the working press to forge links beyond barriers, his death should strenghten the ranks of community press to ask the government for a speedy resolution of all unsolved cases of deaths among journalists who sacrifice their lives for truth to shine.
We ask President Rodrigo Duterte to order all agencies concerned to give priority on cases of journalist whose case files remain at the archives of the investigating agencies.
MIPC members also commit to work with WAN-IFRA and other like-minded organizations to heighten security consciousness among Mindanao journalists,” the group added.