MANILA -- Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) chief, Communications Undersecretary Joel Egco, on Monday called for public support in finding the killers of Dumaguete City radio broadcaster Edmund Sestoso.
Egco made this appeal as the PTFoMS, through the Dumaguete City police, assisted Sestoso’s widow, Lourdes, in filing murder charges against two John Does identified only as “Ka Mokong” and “Ka Sherwin”.
“With this significant development, we now call on the public, especially the residents of Dumaguete City and its neighboring cities, to be on the lookout for possible sightings of the suspects within their respective vicinities and report the same immediately to the local police,” Egco said.
“Furthermore, we encourage those who have knowledge or information that could help establish the complete identities of Ka Mokong and Ka Sherwin to come forward and cooperate with the authorities for their eventual apprehension,” he added.
He said a third suspect named Rene Bustamante was charged in the complaint filed before the Dumaguete City Prosecutor's Office.
Egco said the wife’s complaint affidavit was supported by documentary evidence consisting of the sworn statements of the three eyewitnesses and one corroborating witness, pictures of the crime scene and recovered evidence, as well as cartographic sketches and computerized facial composites of the assailants.
A principal witness alleged that Ka Mokong was the alleged gunman while Ka Sherwin was the driver of the getaway motorcycle in the attack on of Sestoso last April 30.
Egco said the witness recalled having previously met the suspects in a couple of occasions, where they introduced themselves as members of the New People’s Army (NPA), an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The principal witness said the alleged killers told him they had been planning to kill Sestoso as he was allegedly responsible for framing up Bustamante, an NPA commander and their uncle.
Bustamante was arrested in June 2014 in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
“While the filing of murder charges against identified suspects is a very big step in the quest for justice for Edmund Sestoso, the PTFoMS considers this as just the start of its duty to ensure their arrest and prosecution for the crime,” Egco said.
Egco described the filing of murder charges against Sestoso’s killers as a “breakthrough” in the PTFoMS’ efforts to address media killings in the country.
Last May 3, PTFoMS Co-Chairman Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go and Ecgo visited the Sestoso family and assured them that the government is closely monitoring the situation.
Andanar and Go immediately issued a directive to authorities to vigorously and relentlessly pursue the perpetrators; and offered a bounty of PHP400,000 for positive information that will lead to the immediate apprehension of the killers.
Egco said the three witnesses have been cooperating with the PTFoMS through the Special Investigation Task Group Sestoso (SITG Sestoso) formed by the Dumaguete City Philippine National Police.
The PTFoMS has also endorsed the inclusion of the principal eyewitness in the Witness Protection Program.
“For in each and every case of media violence reported to us, failure is not an option,” Egco assured. (PNA)