Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima bewailed the increasing attacks and killings of media practitioners in the country, including the recent murder last Jan. 12 in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat of a hard-hitting radio commentator who is seeking an elective post.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said authorities should thoroughly investigate all angles behind the killing to ensure justice and accountability.
“Nagpapaabot po tayo ng pakikiramay sa mga naulila ng biktima. Mariin po nating kinokondena ang walang pakundangang pamamaslang na ito sa isa na namang kawani ng media. Sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi natigil ang ganitong karahasan, kundi tumataas pa,” she said.
“This alarming trend and incessant attacks and killings of members of the press makes it imperative for the authorities and institutions to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” she added.
According to the initial report by the Philippine National Police Soccsksargen, radio commentator Jaynard Angeles was shot dead around 10 a.m. in a car wash establishment in Purok Sampaguita, Barangay New Carmen in Tacurong City.
While in the shop, two unidentified male assailants reportedly shot the victim in the head and immediately left the scene using a black motorcycle and fled away. The police have yet to establish the motive behind Angeles’ killing.
Angeles, former station manager of Radyo ni Juan FM station, and who has been a broadcaster for more than 10 years, was also running for councilor in his hometown of Lambayong. He was a radio commentator or blocktimer at Radyo ni Juan-Tacurong at the time of his demise.
Prior to Angeles’ death, it was reported that the station manager of Radyo ni Juan in Tacurong, Benjie Caballero, was also shot dead in Tacurong in December 2019.
Notably, Angeles’ killing happened just less than a month since journalist Jess Malabanan was killed in the vicinity of his house in Samar last December 2021.
The lady Senator from Bicol reiterated that the continued dangers faced by Filipino media practitioners makes it more important to pass her proposed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1523 or the Journalist Protection Act of 2020.
“Journalists and media practitioners continue to face dangers as they serve as watchdogs against governments and as representations of the critical voices of the citizens. We need to safeguard their welfare by passing this timely legislation that will ensure that their rights are upheld all the time,” she said.
“Exasperating as it has become, we cannot stop denouncing these repeated acts of violence against media practitioners. We cannot fall victims to apathy and resignation. We cannot stop caring,” De Lima lamented.
“Bilang kawani ng malayang pamamahayag at tagapagsiwalat ng katotohanan, hindi pwedeng magwalang kibo lamang sa ganitong brutal na karahasan. Kung mananahimik tayo, baka bukas makalawa, wala nang umimik para sa atin kapag tayo o kapamilya na natin mismo ang mabiktima. Stop the killings! Justice to all victims!” she added.(30)