Task Force Sought for Unsolved cases.(Main News)

Manila Bulletin, November 13, 2002 | Go to article overview

Task Force Sought for Unsolved cases.(Main News)


Byline: MARIO B. CASAYURAN

Senate Majority Leader Loren Legarda urged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday to bring back public confidence in the countrys justice system by creating a task force that would reinvestigate unsolved criminal cases.

"We have to admit that people do not feel safe anymore with the seeming helplessness of law enforcement agencies to prevent and solve crimes," Legarda said. "Thus, I ask the President to consider the creation of a task force that would try to solve criminal cases whose files are now gathering dust."

Legarda lamented that the investigation into the gruesome murder of actress Nida Blanca (Dorothy Jones in real life) had apparently hit a blank wall as solid evidence has repeatedly been unearthed against suspects Philip Medel and Blanca's husband, Rod Strunk, the alleged mastermind.

"There are many Nida Blancas crying out for justice from their graves. If the police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are having a hard time prosecuting Blanca's killers one year after her death, imagine the frustration the families of other long-forgotten victims must be feeling," she said.

Among the unsolved crimes which the envisioned task force can look into are the killings of public relations man Salvador "Bubby" Dacer, journalist Primitivo Mijares, Department of Environment and Natiral Resources (DENR) Director Ricardo Serrano, labor leaders Rolando Olalia and Popoy Lagman, former child actress Strawberry, and UP student Nino Calinao.

The senator said the task force need not limit itself to investigating homicide as it can also tackle, for example, the disappearance of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) employe Edgar Bentain, who has been missing since 1998, and the 1,600 or so "desaparecidos" during the Marcos administration.

?It should not only tackle high-profile cases, but also those that victimized ordinary citizens," she added.

The task force, Legarda explained, should be composed of forensic experts that could unravel crime mysteries even if the trail the killer or killers have left had gone cold.

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