The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines joins the media community and the family of murdered Radio Mindanao Network anchor Dennis Cuesta today, Aug. 9, in remembering the third year of his death.
Likewise, NUJP expresses its dismay over the continued inaction that has caused the murder case to stagnate.
It has been more than a year, June 21, 2010 to be exact, when the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 139 moved to archive the case because accused police officer Redempto “Boy” Acharon had remained at large for two years.
Local police claimed they could not find Acharon even when persistent reports placed him still in General Santos City.
From the start, the case has been plagued by delays and developments that were, to say the least, questionable.
In February 2009, Judge Isaac Moran of the General Santos City Regional Trial Court Branch 36 revoked the warrant of arrest he himself initially issued against accused Acharon and several other suspects.
But much as we are dismayed at the pace the Cuesta case has been moving or, more accurately, not moving, it does come as no surprise. It is not the only media murder case that has stalled.
Of the 145 journalists killed in the line of duty listed by NUJP, only 10 cases have had convictions secured, but only of the gunmen. Not a single mastermind has yet been prosecuted and punished.
Three other cases have been dismissed, and five, including Cuesta’s, have been archived. Many more cases have never even reached the courts.
We once again call for our local and international press freedom allies to help us pressure the agencies concerned to not leave media killings unresolved, and to swiftly deliver justice for Cuesta and our other slain colleagues.
Only then shall the culture of impunity with which murders like these and the other gross violations of human rights in our country end.