By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Relatives of journalists killed in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions express strong support for the call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration to work faster towards the achievement of justice especially for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, where 58 were brutally killed including 32 workers in media.
“The families of the victims should not lose hope. Pray and hope for justice,” said a relative of journalist Rey Pedronio who was killed in 1999 in this city by members of a paramilitary group Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA).
In an SMS message, she urged the government to double its effort to help facilitate justice for the victims. She also relayed through SMS: “I join you in your fight for justice through prayers.”
In Ilocos Norte, a relative of murdered radio anchorman, Lito Agustin expresses disgust over the pace of the cases against the accused of the Maguindanao massacre.
“Walang nangyayaring pag-usad ng kaso nila dahil walang hustisya sa Pilipinas (There is no development on the cases filed against the accused in the Maguindanao massacre as justice in the Philippines has failed),” the nephew of Agustin said in an interview.
An anchorman of dzJC, Agustin and his nephew were riding on their motorcycle on their way home from the radio station when they were shot at by gunmen on a motorcycle riding in tandem on June 16, 2010 in Laoag City. Agustin died in the ambush but his nephew survived to tell the story and identified the culprits.
The nephew said that the justice system failed to work in the cases of journalists killed including the case of his uncle where the accused still are not punished due to their influence. A mastermind on the death of Agustin was alleged to be a politician in that province.
Music for justice
In the prayer rally by journalists led by the officers of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines here, a widow of a victim of extra-judicial killing used her flute to relay support on the call for justice to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.
Dom-an Macagne, the widow of church worker Jose “Pepe” Manegdeg III, usually performs in human rights activities and urged justice for the victims of EJK, including journalists. Her husband was killed in Ilocos Sur in 2005 where one of the alleged perpetrators was an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Two journalists killed in Cordi under PNoy’s watch
The NUJP chapter here documented two journalists killed in the Cordillera region under the administration of Aquino.
Jose Daguio of Tabuk, Kalinga was killed on July 3, 2010 while Cirilo Gallardo of dwWM was killed on January 31 this year.
Cordillera police claimed that some of the accused from the two cases were arrested but cases are still pending in court.
Based on documents from the NUJP chapter, other journalists killed in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions are: Rey Pedronio who was gunned down in 1999 by members of the paramilitary Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army; Roger Mariano, an announcer of the DzJC, was ambushed in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte on July, 31, 2004; Stephen Omaois, a reporter of the Guru Press, was brutally killed in Tabuk, Kalinga on November 26, 2004; Rogelio Villafuerte, a technician of DzEQ in Baguio City was shot to death by an alleged policeman on January 26, 2005; Romy Sanchez, a radio announcer in La Union and the Desk head of Northern Dispatch in the Ilocos region was killed in broad day light in Baguio City on March 9, 2005; Andres Acosta, an announcer of DzJC, was attacked by a knife-wielding man in Ilocos on December 21, 2006; and Agustin of dzJC who was killed in Laoag City.
The NUJP chapter here said that justice has eluded the victims in these cases, investigations fail and miss the real culprits, this situation strengthens the push for them to support the campaign to end of impunity. # nordis.net