DOJ won’t handle probe of Capiz exec’s slay


Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) – May 4, 2021 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday referred to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) the investigation of the murder of a municipal official in Capiz.

“The case will not be handled by the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Administrative Order 35 Task Force (AO35) as the victim, John Heredia, was a former journalist,” Guevarra said.

The AO35 handles cases of extrajudicial killings.

Guevarra said that since Heredia was a former journalist and the first and longest sitting chairman of the Capiz chapter of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, the case is better handled by the PTFoMS.

“I will refer his case to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security for investigation and case build-up since he was a journalist,” Guevarra said.

Heredia, municipal administrator of Pilar, was about to board his vehicle when an unidentified assailant shot him several times in Barangay Lawa-an, Roxas City on Sunday.

Witnesses said the assailant was about 5’4” tall and wearing a hooded jacket.

The gunman escaped on a waiting motorcycle.

The victim’s lawyer-wife Criselda reportedly said that her husband had received death threats.

It was not the first attack on the Heredia family.

In September 2019, Criselda and her daughter survived an ambush.

Activist

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the DOJ should investigate Heredia’s murder, noting the victim was an activist.

“Aside from being a former official of the NUJP, Heredia was a known activist. His wife was an anti-mining lawyer who survived an ambush in 2019,” said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

Heredia was an advocate of the rights of indigenous peoples, Reyes said.

“There can be different motives for the murder, but what stands out is that Heredia was an advocate of various people’s issues. This alone should be enough for the DOJ’s AO35 Task Force to look into his case,” Reyes said. – Rhodina Villanueva



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