Gov et al charged in Catanduanes newsman murder

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Tuesday, May 2, took the lead in filing charges of murder in connection with the slaying of journalist Larry Sy Que.

Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, Executive Director of the PTFoMs accompanied Edralyn Pangilinan, common-law wife of Larry Que and radioman Marlon Suplig, the slain journalist’s closest friend, to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in filing the charges against Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, right hand man of Gov. Cua – Prince Lim Subion, Police Officer 1 (PO1) Vincent Tacorda, John Doe, and Richard Doe.

Charges of robbery and extortion were also filed against PO1 Tacorda, who is still on active duty, John Doe, and Richard Doe.

Ms. Pangilinan revealed PO1 Tacorda had demanded them to give ten million in exchange for evidence of Que’s murder adding that she had already given certain amounts of money in tranches to the suspect, in exchange for information leading to Que’s killer.

Ms. Pangilinan also revealed that Tacorda was among the policemen assigned to secure her family following the Task Force chief’s request for the local PNP to provide her and Que’s young children security cover while the case was being investigated.

“Nakonsensiya daw siya (Tacorda) nung makita ang mga anak ko na yumayakap pa sa kaniya. Mula noon, di na siya nag duty ulit aa amin,” she averred.

Egco said the murder of Que is among the more than 180 cases in PTFoMS’ inventory. He stressed that Tacorda has been “on our radar” since March 20, when the policeman first sent “surrender feelers.”

“Tutok na tutok din kami dito kasi ito yung kauna-unahan at sana huwag na madagdagan na media worker killing sa Duterte administration. Tomorrow, may report tayo kay Presidente, isasama na natin ito,” Usec. Egco, said.

Que’s death is the first verified media-related killing under the current administration.

“The case in itself is a high profile case, being the first, by far, verified media worker killing under the administration of President Duterte; second, it involves narco-politics, drugs. It also targets the issue of scalawags in law enforcement agencies, not only the PNP. And four, the case shows the President was right about the pervasiveness of the drug problem. Ganoon siya ka-significant,” the PTFoMS Executive Director added.

Since the death of Que, the Task Force has ordered the Philippine National Police – Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (PNP – DIDM) to monitor and investigate the case.

At present, the family of Larry Que is under the protection of the PNP. The PTFoMS will request that the family be placed under the Witness Protection Program.

Larry Que was a publisher and journalist for the Catanduanes News Now. Que was shot on December 19, 2016 in Barangay San Isidro, Virac Catanduanes and died the following day, two weeks after he had published an article linking government officials to a drug operation conducted in Virac, Catanduanes.

On its connection with the intensified campaign against illegal drugs, Usec. Egco replied, “Connected ito. Anti-drug advocate din kasi si Larry. In fact, ‘yung second edition ng dyaryo niya, may kopya na tayo, pero hindi niya nai-publish ‘yon. mas bombastic, mas malaman ‘yung second edition.”

The Presidential Task Force was created by virtue of Administrative Order No. 01 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last October 11, 2016 in order to protect the right to life, liberty and security of the media.

Co-chaired by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), PTFoMS is mandated to take immediate action in investigating new cases for the lawful prosecution of perpetrators. ### PCO-Content