THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has declared that they will be probing the recent alleged slay attempt on Baguio journalist Aldwin Quitasol. Bayan Muna Partylist group is also petitioning Congress to launch a separate probe into the incident.
“As the evidence on this attempted-slay remains uncertain, CHR is committed to helping to ferret out the truth. We condemn any attempt on the life of any media personality. A fully functional and democratic society allows reasonable exercise of free speech and expression as a means of participating in matters concerning public life. Threats and attempts of killing and harm perpetrated against any individual expressing dissent should never be normalized,” CHR spokesman Jacqueline Ann De Guia said in a statement on Friday.
According to De Guia, the CHR was optimistic about proper action to be taken against any perpetrators found by the investigations with the cooperation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat, and Ferdinand Gaite asked the House Committee on Human Rights to look into the incident.
Bayan Muna sought a deeper probe through House Resolution No. 2510 filed on March 5 as Quitasol had previously declined an invite to a police dialogue under an anti-insurgency program targeting suspected sympathizers and members of the communist element among journalists and government employees.
Quitasol, president of the Baguio City Broadcasters Club (BCBC), has been red-tagged multiple times in the past.
“The attempted shooting of Quitasol constitutes an attack on press freedom and sends a chilling effect to members of the media,” the resolution stated.
In a statement on March 4, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said the government should not downplay or disregard the “trauma” suffered by Quitasol.
PTFoMS head Joel Sy Egco previously castigated the media community for supposedly whipping up a panic as initial investigations failed to find a bullet, dubbing the incident a case of mistaken recognition where Quitasol supposedly mistook exhaust backfire for gunfire.
The NUJP chapter in Baguio and Benguet said the group was standing by Quitasol and will continue to seek deeper investigation into the incident.