On The Real Enemies and Traitors of the Fourth Estate

(Disclaimer: While I am no longer part of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security or PTFoMS, I continue to support its mandate under President Duterte’s Administrative Order 1 which is to protect journalists from harassment, threats, and violence.)

Friends from the larger circle of people I go around in tipped me off that a columnist insinuated or some would say accused PTFoMS Executive Director Joel Sy Egco of threatening to harm him.

Having known Joel for over a decade, I immediately doubted that he could do such a thing and passed it off as another one of those stories aimed at discrediting the PTFoMS in order to keep it from running after people who threatened or killed journalists.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

In fact I have received information from friends that strongly indicate that efforts to malign and discredit Joel as well as the PTFoMS is an attempt to protect the killer of radioman Christopher Lozada.

On October 25, radio anchor Lozada was shot dead in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Earlier in October, the slain radio anchor contacted the PTFoMS to report that he had been receiving threats from Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro. Lozada said that he believed that Mayor Navarro sent him threats after he had  filing a grave misconduct complaint against the mayor and the threats escalated when the Office of the Ombudsman ordered Navarro’s removal from his post in September.

In about a week, upon the instructions of PCO Secretary Martin Andanar, the investigation of the PTFoMS into Lozada’s killing led police to take into custody a man suspected to be the lookout while the killing was being perpetrated and conduct a man-hunt for the driver the car used in the killing.

From Usec. Egco’s Facebook post:
Case conference on the case of Chris Lozada at the Regional PNP 13 i Butuan City presided by CSupt. Rolando Felix and attended by the SITG Lozada headed SSupt. Romualdo Bayting, the CIDG chief and other PNP units working for the quick resolution of the case. Then we visited the site where the victim was killed in Bgy. COLETO Bislig City. We were able to secure a copy of the Dismissal Order issued by the DILG against Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro and 12 others. The vice mayor is expected to take his oath unless the mayor could get a TRO.
The person/s of interest remain as we all agree on the possible motive for the killing. It is just a matter of connecting the dots. CSupt. Felix gave his assurance that justice will be served. There are details I can’t discuss but rest assured the full force of the law weighs in. This case, like the others before, is personal to me.
We directed them to ensure the security of the surviving CL wife and the other staff of Prime FM radio.
The latest incident points to a number of security protocols that we should institutionalize, esp in far-flung areas. The case is a complex mix of personal and professional causes. From the victim’s crossing over from mere reporting to being a litigant/complainant in a serious case. Moving forward, we shall see to it that Chris’ advocacy will not be for naught.

The gray van used in perpetrating the killing was reportedly being kept in a garage owned and operated by the local government. It would have been confiscated by authorities for forensic analysis but local government barred investigators from taking hold of the said vehicle.

From Usec. Egco’s Facebook Post: On the left is the car driven by Bislig City radioman Christopher Lozada on the night of Oct 24. After his ambush, the grey van (according to witnesses) bumped onto the smaller Vios (that blocked its way) as the van escaped through the narrow road, causing the rear bumper of the Vios to fall off. Now, on the right is a grey van that is now the subject of forensic analysis. Notice the dents and scratches on its right side below the sliding door. Someone attempted to repair the dents but they are still very evident.

Word from friends who are in contact with journalists from Surigao sent me word that an former big time politician currently facing impending corruption charges was trying to intervene in order to keep Mayor Navarro from being charged with killing Lozada.

I was told that the big time politician, who also once owned several media outfits as well as kept corrupt journalists on a payroll, had come to Metro Manila with Mayor Navarro to seek to dissuade officials in Duterte’s administration from filing charges against the Bislig town mayor.

In fact, the big time politician boasts of his clout with the current administration and friends tell me that he was behind the sacking of the chief of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Caraga following last week’s police raid on the Bislig City Hall in connection with the killing of Bislig City broadcaster Lozada.

Suspiciously, the big time politician’s excursion to Metro Manila coincides with reports of a columnist claiming that PTFoMS Executive Direct Joel had threatened him with harm. Friends say that the columnist is close to the big time politician and had in fact been paid by the big time politician many times to conduct “demolition jobs” against a number of people.

Mat Vicencio of Hataw reported the threat to the Criminal Investigation and Detective Unit of Quezon City Police District, as well as to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

In a statement on Monday, Vicencio said: “I write to express my fear for my life after I received a death threat as a result of a column that I wrote critical of a government official’s handling of the cases of slain journalists under the Duterte administration.”

He was referring to Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.

“I suspect that this death threat emanated from Mr. Egco and his men. Should my suspicion is true that Mr. Egco was behind the threat, who else could be safe in dispensing our job as journalists?” said Vicencio.

In his column Sipat, Vicencio as assailed the task force’s supposed inaction on the cases of five slain journalists, including Christopher Ivan Lozada, and called for Ecgo’s resignation due to his ‘’incompetence.”

Vicencio circulated claims that he was threatened by Egco the very day that the big time politician and his minion Mayor Navarro were in Manila.

The claims Vicencio made against Egco in his columns were outright lies and at least one contained personal attacks against the PTFoMS Executive Director.

One lie that Vicencion wrote was that Egco failed to act on Lozada’s case, when the contrary can be proven by PTFoMS documents and communications with Lozada as well as Egco’s visit to Bislig, Surigao Del Sur.

A friend even described Vicencio’s writings as “praning” or “drug addled”. But of course, I won’t take my friend’s word for it because I’d rather come to my own conclusion if ever I meet Vicencio.

Against Vicencio’s bizarre claims that Egco threatened him, the National Press Club (NPC) closed ranks to support the executive director of the PTFoMS and its staff.


The last two paragraphs of the NPC board resolution states:

Since taking on the post as PTFoMS executive director (with the rank of undersecretary) in order to pursue the aforesaid goals, the NPC took cognizance of the fact that Usec. Egco has not only taken great personal risk but has also been repeatedly vilified and maligned by some quarters, to include those purportedly coming from the ranks of the mainstream media, in their effort to ensure that the PTFoMS fails in its mandate.

It is hereby resolved by the NPC board, to issue this RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT to Usec. Egco and the PTFoMS to help boost their morale in overcoming the many challenges ahead of them as they continue performing their mandate that can sometimes be frustrating and unrewarding.

Here’s the clincher and I hope Mr. Vicencio answers:


4 Replies to “On The Real Enemies and Traitors of the Fourth Estate”

  1. Interesting.

    I wonder how long it will take before Filipinos get the idea that killing people because they’re raining on your parade is, like, wrong?

  2. It has been many years, since the Ampatuans murdered several journalists. The Dacer Corbito case is yet to be solved.

    The Philippines, is a very dangerous place for journalists. They are threatened, murdered and killed. The corrupt politicians are the culprits, in their desire to monopolize and stay in power.

    If we can just enforce the law, that is, no one is above the law. These killings would not had happened. Being a friend of those in power, is not a license to murder anybody.

    I am sympathizing with Mr. Lozada’s family. Sooner or later, justice must be given to them !

  3. The 4TH Estate are not victims but rather they are CRIMINALS hiding in the shadows and pulling strings with impunity due to their bribing of politicians and police….in the 3RD World money buys justice/silence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.