Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Director Pedro Tango should heed the directive issued by the Task Force Usig to continue keeping in custody PO1 Dennis Lumikid, the suspected gunman of slain broadcaster Jesiderio Camangyan, pending criminal and administrative charges.
Based on information from Major Henry Libay, the directive issued on August 20, Friday, was signed by an officer of the Division of Investigation and Detective Management of the PNP, who is also the current head of Task Force Usig.
PNP XI Regional Director Pedro Tango in an interview on Friday however refused to give a categorical answer when asked if he already received the directive.
Lumikid was indicted for murder at a Mati Regional Trial Court on August 16.
His case would have been raffled on August 18, a Wednesday, the regular schedule for the court raffling.
However, the leave of absence by one judge prompted court authorities to move the raffling of the case to August 25, two days after the restrictive custody expires.
We do not want this to end up like the case against the suspected gunman of broadcaster Dennis Cuesta, who went missing following his release from the restrictive custody of the PNP. Cuesta’s case had been archived as the suspect had gone at large.
Camangyan was murdered in Barangay Old Macopa, Manay, Davao Oriental on June 14.
We fear that ugly hands might already be at work to let the culprit escape from liability. We note that the suspected gunman whom an eyewitness positively identified is a known underling of a powerful politician whom Camangyan criticized in his broadcasts.
Attempts of whitewash were noted even at the onset of the case. None of the prosecutors in Mati wanted to swear in the affidavits and complaints of the witnesses when the police earlier filed the case.
The DOJ designated State Prosecutor Nestor S. Lazaro to investigate and resolve the complaint on June 25. One month passed and the state prosecutor assigned in the case had yet to receive the records of the Camangyan murder case.
We need to see an effective prosecution of the case believing that without accountability the killings will never stop.
The prosecution of Camangyan is a litmus case of how the Aquino administration will address the clamor for justice not only on slain journalists but on other cases of political killings.
We urge colleagues to keep watch of the case and help ensure that regional Police authorities will not let go of Lumikid on Monday.