MANILA, April 27 — The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) said it will ask Malacañang to takeover another case of media killing last year in the Calabarzon region after one of the alleged gunmen was released last week by the court on a technicality.
NPC president Benny Antiporda said they are referring to Mario Rocky Arquilla, a native of Quezon province, who was ordered released by the court last April 23, 2014.
Arquilla and another suspect, Emmanuel Emman Villanueva Peñalosa, are under detention at the local jail of San Pablo City for the murder of city councilor Edgardo Doc Egay Adajar, who was also a prominent local media personality.
Adajar and his bodyguard were gunned down outside a local cockpit in Bgy. Concepcion, San Pablo City last January 2, 2013 by at least three hired killers.
His murder, Antiporda noted, was the first recorded case of work-related media killing in 2013 under the Aquino administration. Antiporda also pointed out that Adajar used to be a member of the NPC.
Peñalosa was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Lucena City last January 10, 2014, followed by Arquilla three days later, on January 13, 2014, based on the revelation of Peñalosa.
From what the NPC has gathered so far, Antiporda said the release of Arquilla, who stepped out of prison last Friday, April 25, 2014, is either an honest case of mistaken identity or a case of sloppy investigation and case build-up by the police.
Ang nangyari kasi dito, iba raw yung litrato ng suspect sa taong inaresto ng CIDG. At magkaiba rin daw ng pangalan.
According to Adajars family, the name in the warrant is for Mario Arquilla, with the letter r which is his true name. However, in the picture held by the police, he was identified as Mario Aquilla, without the letter r.
Why it turned out this way when the police claimed it was focused on this sensational case since it happened is still a mystery that should be unravelled as soon as possible if justice is to be served to the family of the victims, Antiporda said.
He added that immediately after Adajar was murdered, the police even formed an SITG (special investigation task group) as Adajar was not only a member of the press but also an elected government official (EGO).
But the way the arrested suspects identified by witnesses are walking back to freedom because something went wrong in the investigation and case build-up does not also give justice to the formation of these so-called SITGs because they only give false hope to the family of victims.
More importantly, such foul-ups also harm the credibility of the government in its campaign to end the culture of impunity in general and medial killings in particular, the NPC leader said.
He also noted that on April 23, the day Arquilla was ordered released by the court on a technicality, NPC officers and Palace officials thru Sec. Herminio Sonny Coloma and Usec. Rey Marfil, were meeting in Malacañang to find a common ground on how best to address the problem of media killing. What an irony! Antiporda exclaimed.
Antiporda said the case of Adajar would be the second case the club would refer to Malacañang after that of Cavite-based journalist and Remate tabloid correspondent, Rubylita Rubie Garcia.
Garcia was shot dead inside her house in Bacoor, Cavite last April 6, 2014. (PNA)