Presidential Task Force on Media Security probes grenade blast in Legazpi City

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the grenade explosion which destroyed the engine of a pickup van owned by a local radio station parked in a subdivision in Legazpi City on March 18, 2018.

The van, a service vehicle of Zagitsit FM radio station, was parked along the road in Our Lady’s Village Subdivision in Barangay Bitano when the suspect hurled the grenade at it at about 1:15am.

Upon receipt of the report of the incident, PTFoMS Executive Director USec. Jose Joel Sy Egco immediately directed the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management as well as SSupt Nilo Berdin, Legazpi City Police Chief, to conduct a thorough investigation to unmask the perpetrators behind this.

While it is yet to be confirmed if this incident falls under the mandate of the Task Force in relation to the Administrative Order No. 1 (AO1) of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte in protecting the life, liberty and security of Media Workers, there is a possibility that this incident may be related to the commentaries of Hermogenes “Jun” Alegre Jr., owner and station manager of Zagitsit FM station and former president of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) Albay chapter.

Alegre, who handles a daily morning public affairs program, suspects that influential people and politicians hit by his commentaries were behind the grenade explosion. He considers the incident as a “harassment to stop us from exposing irregularities.”

He also stated that this incident was already the third aimed against the station. The first was in 2016 when the windshield of the station service van that was parked at the radio station’s parking area was broken by unknown people. It was followed last year by a shooting incident where a helmeted gunman on board a motorcycle fired at the car being driven by Carlos Sasis, an anchorman of the station followed shortly by text messages received thru the official mobile phone of Zagitsit radio from an unidentified sender apologizing to Sasis and stating that the attack was actually meant for his co-commentator Walter Magdato.

The PTFoMS will continue to monitor the progress of the investigation and provide the necessary security and legal assistance to Alegre.

The Task Force is committed to fulfilling its mandate to keep media workers free from any and all forms of threats and violence that may be carried out against them.