By Kristine J. V. Patag

Faster Que murder investigation sought

Posted on January 09, 2017

AN OFFICIAL of the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media has taken to task police investigators over the slow progress of the probe on the murder of Larry S. Que, considered as the first journalist killed under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“If the [Special Investigation Task Group (SITG)] will have no feedback, that will not be good for them. I cannot report to [Presidential Communications Secretary Martin A. Andanar], [Secretary of Justice Vitaliano N. Aguirre II] and [President Rodrigo R. Duterte] that probers are facing a blank wall when there are many leads,” Jose Joel Maguiza S. Egco, executive director of the task force, wrote in one of his follow-up e-mails sent to Police Officer 3 Kathrina C. Garcia of the Diretorate for Investigation and Detective Management-Task Force USIG.

The task force on media killings, which has a special oversight team composed of investigators and prosecutors, is led by Mr. Aguirre as chairperson and Mr. Andanar as co-chairperson.

In the latest investigation report dated Dec. 27, 2016, Police Officer 2 Benjamin F. dela Rosa, head of the SITG, asked to be “afforded ample time to exhaust-in-depth investigation in coordination with other law enforcement agencies for the immediate resolution of the instant case soonest time possible.”

But Mr. Egco pointed out that he wants “to speed up the probe because I, too, couldn’t wait to hear any good news from their end.”

He further warned that the police “should produce concrete results, not excuses.”

Mr. Egco said he will go to Catanduanes this week to oversee the probe.

”I’ll be visiting Catanduanes next week to speak with the Que family first and then conduct a case briefing with the SITG. Mr. Que’s case is complicated.”

He noted that the task force has taken into account the background of Mr. Que -- a businessman who ran for mayor of Virac town in the May 2016 elections -- before publishing a Catanduanes community newspaper, for which he also wrote a column, two weeks before his murder.

”There are sensitive pieces of information that have reached me and they are being taken into account as among the possible motives for the killing, including his stint in politics, business dealings and past affiliations,” Mr. Egco said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Que’s case remains a matter under the task force.

“As a matter of policy, we are treating this case, and any case of harassment or killing of a media worker for that matter, as work-related, until proven otherwise,” Mr. Egco said.

”We will not stop until the perpetrators are put behind bars. I will make that clear during my visit to the province next week,” he added.

Mr. Que was shot by still unidentified suspects in front of his Centennial Insurance Office in Barangay San Isidro Village, Virac, Cantanduanes on Dec. 19.