Speaker Alvarez denies hand in journalist killing, authorities create Task Force Denora

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DAVAO CITY (June 13) — “I am a lawyer, I file cases, I don’t kill people”, this was the outright  denial of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, as speculations are rife that he had a hand in the  killing of newspaper publisher and veteran journalist  Dennis Denora.

Alvarez, in an interview with Newsline.ph,    said “Why are they alluding me into the killing, I don’t kill people! I file cases, I don’t want to put blood in my hands, Baka ginawa syang collateral damage.”

Dennis Denora,  publisher of the  weekly tabloid Trends and Times based in Davao del Norte,  was killed in broad daylight and  in a populated highway, in Panabo, Davao del Norte last Thursday afternoon, June 7,  but until now,  police has yet to find  a witness.

Based on Denora’s published articles, the journalist, was critical about Alvarez.

Denora wrote  about the alleged P500-million property of Alvarez  in Siargao Island.

His last copy  published on  June 7,  was about the massive vote buying during the May 14, 2016,   barangay and Sanggguniang Kabataan Elections.

The newspaper copies  found inside  Denora’s  car,  was about Alvarez’  promise  to provide   P3-million fund for the winning candidates,  which is  being questioned by the supposed recipients.

Copies of Denora’s [ublication found inside his car when he was killed by still unidentified gunmen.-Contributed photo
But Alvarez said “The stories written by Denora is not a cause for alarm,  I am not affected, the circulation of his paper is very minimal, weekly ra man na mogawas, gamay ang circulation,  Why should I kill him?”

This developed,  as authorities created a province-wide Task Force Denora,  in the hope of  unmasking the perpetrators behind his death, and bring the suspects before the bars of justice.

The Task Force is composed of representatives from the Department of Justice (DoJ); National Bureau of Investigation; Philippine National Police; Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Lawyer Louie Padillo, the spokesperson of the task force told Newsline.ph “We created a task force last Monday and we are now starting to collate information which can help us solve the case.”

When asked, is there big names behind the killing? Padillo stressed “it is too early to say that.”

Motives:

The investigators are looking at many angles,  among which include “His work being a journalist and his business, because he is also into printing business, but we are exploring other possible motives,” Padillo said.

As it is now, Padillo said, “We are reviewing his publication, backtracking starts in  2017 and we are conferring notes with other members of the task force.”

Padillo said,  they include in their investigation the  reports  written by Denora and the issue he was pursuing.

Asked if it has something to do with corruption issue, Padillo said “It is hard to speculate right now.”

When asked, if Speaker  Alvarez name cropped up in their investigation,   Padillo was quick “No! wala, wala.”

The Task Force also got information that Denora, according to his family, has been receiving threat “Sabi ng family, since last year may threat na.”

Sacrificial lamb

In denying any hand, Alvarez  suspects,  Denora could  have been used as a  sacrificial lamb “Baka naman, collateral damage sya, he is a convenient target to hit me.” Saying somebody could have sacrificed Denora’s life  for him to be a suspect in the killing.

When Denora  was killed, Alvarez said,  he was in the United States “I have nothing against him,  I will not do that, as I said as a lawyer I file a case, I don’t kill.”

Though,  Alvarez admitted having filed a libel case against Denora several years back, he said he has forgiven him when he dropped the case,  “Yes, I filed a case against him, dugay na,   but when the case was at the Regional trial Court, then Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy, asked me to forgive him and  to withdraw the case, which I did.”

The Speaker urged investigators to dig deeper and  look into all angles,   he hinted that Denora could have been killed by his (Alvarez) enemies and put the blame on him.

He also asked the perpetrators to “Go to Church,  ask forgiveness and confess.”

Last week, Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) head Undersecretary Joel Egco last week said that Denora’s death appears to be politically motivated. In fact, he said, a “very influential politician” could be behind Denora’s killing.

“The initial report we received is that his killing has something to do with politics. I can’t give the name, we cannot say it’s (the) official (finding) but a politician with strong influence is one of the (suspects) that we got from the ground,” Egco said.

Egco said Denora’s killing came as a shock because the slain journalist had not reported any harassment prior to the attack.

“We didn’t get any report of him being harassed, he was not on the radar, meaning, there was no past records of him coming under attack, he was an old man and the incident was shocking,” Egco added.

Denora is the second journalists killed in Davao del Norte during the last three years.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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