Illegal loggers behind broadcaster’s slay?

Were illegal loggers behind the killing of broadcaster Robert Sison?

Quezon Gov. Dante Nantes said Sison, who was exposing illegal logging activities in their province, told him he had been receiving death threats in the past few weeks.

Speaking at the Usapang Daungan news forum in Quezon City, Nantes said the killing of Sison was triggered by his hard-line campaign against illegal logging and fishing.

He said authorities have already made a breakthrough in their investigation of the case.

“We have already a strong lead, and it’s just a matter of time before the brains and the killers will be arrested,” he said.

Meanwhile, police have arrested two suspected hit men following a manhunt for the killers of Sison in Sariaya, Quezon Wednesday night.

However, Senior Superintendent Fidel Posadas, Quezon police director, said investigators have yet to gather more evidence to link Simeon Esguerra Aguila, 23, of San Juan, Batangas, and Joselito Cabrera, 32, of Matina, Davao City, to Sison’s murder.

“As of now hindi pa namin sila pwedeng ituro na sangkot sa pagpatay kay Sison dahil illegal possession of firearms pa lang ang pwede naming ikaso laban sa kanila,” he told The STAR.

Posadas said Esguerra and Cabrera were arrested for possession of two unlicensed caliber .45 pistols.

Police will test the guns seized from them and match these with shells recovered from the site where Sison was ambushed, he added.

The guns are owned by their employer, a certain barangay chairman Aristeo Ilao who owns a farmland in Barangay Sampaloc 2, the suspects told police.

However, a reliable source said Cabrera’s paraffin test showed that he was positive for powder burns.

Gov’t told to probe killing

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the government to thoroughly investigate the murder of Sison.

“We are deeply troubled by Bert Sison’s killing and implore the local authorities to investigate his death swiftly,” said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director.

“The Philippine government must do all it can to ensure that journalists will not be harmed for performing their duties. Our condolences go out to the Sison family.”

CPJ is investigating whether Sison’s murder is connected to his work as a journalist.

The CPJ said the Philippines ranks among the deadliest nations for journalists.

In its Global Campaign Against Impunity, CPJ has partnered with local press groups to raise awareness on the unresolved killings of dozens of journalists. – Perseus Echeminada, Arnell Ozaeta(PhilStar)

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