June 28, 2010 in Featured
By NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)
Three journalists murdered in one week, two of them in as many days.
The murder of Nestor Bedolido of the weekly Kastigador in Digos City, Davao del Sur, on Saturday night brings to 140 the number of journalists and media workers killed since 1986, 103 of them under the Arroyo administration alone.
It would be convenient to attribute this week’s murders to a killing frenzy by the enemies of press freedom before this unlamented government steps down.
But it is more likely they really cannot care less which administration is in place.
Not with the apathy and official inaction administration after administration – the outgoing one admittedly more than any other – has shown towards attempts to silence one of the cornerstones of democracy, a free press.
That plus a governance by expediency – which the outgoing administration has, again, excelled at – that nurtures warlords and sundry crooks, allowing them to amass power and pervert public service into personal privilege, in exchange for political favors, like stolen votes.
Bedolido’s murder followed that of Ilocos Norte’s Jovelito Agustin of dzJC Aksyon Radyo in Laoag City, who was ambushed on his way home Wednesday and died while being treated at a hospital, and Davao Oriental’s Desiderio Camangyan of Mati-based Sunshine FM, killed with a single shot to the head as he sat onstage while emceeing a village singing contest in Manay town.
According to a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bedolido, in his late 40s, was buying cigarettes on the corner of Rizal and Quezon Avenues when he was shot six times by a lone gunman who then “casually walked to a waiting motorcycle driven by another unidentified man.”
Padua was rushed by bystanders to the nearby Gonzales Hospital but died before he could receive treatment.
The Inquirer said Bedolido was known to be critical of a prominent politician in Davao del Sur and was suspected of authoring a series of exposés against the official.
It is clear that government’s failure or, and we suspect this is more accurate, refusal to hold accountable those responsible for the killings – especially the masterminds – makes it equally guilty, an accomplice to the bloodbath that has made a mockery of all our claims to being a democracy.
Ending the killings of journalists and resolving past cases will be a litmus test of how seriously Benigno Aquino III considers his promise of good governance. So will his resolve to hold accountable his predecessor not only for the corruption that marked her nine years in office, but also for the massive loss of lives for which, she too, should be made responsible for.
For there cannot be good governance without justice. And without accountability, the impunity will never end, nor will the killing. And lest it be overlooked, all these media murders are as much a matter of state accountability as the human rights violations committed during the long years of dictatorship or the nine years in power of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Thus, the business of ensuring justice for all victims weighs just as heavy on Aquino as head of state as it should on all those whose sworn duty it is to protect and ensure the life and welfare of all citizens but which, sadly, they still have to do so.# nordis.net