Surigao broadcaster’s murder highlights impunity on day of SONA

The murder of Surigao del Sur broadcaster Godofredo Linao Jr. in Barobo town early Monday morning, just hours before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her ninth state of the nation address, highlights the impunity with which members of the media are attacked
in this country.

At the same time, it also shows how the very fine lines colleagues in the far-flung regions of our land tend to walk in their struggle to reconcile the need to eke out a living while trying to practice the profession as best they can under very difficult circumstances.

Linao was not just coordinator of the Radyo Natin program “Kapamilya Walang Iwanan,” he was also, according to station manager Mar Alvizo, also the spokesman of Surigao del Sur Vice Governor Librado Navarro.

He was shot four times, thrice in the back and once in the face, the bullet entering through his nose and exiting through his nape.

He was the 68th journalist killed since Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001, and the sixth murdered this year.

Although police have yet to identify the motive behind Linao’s murder, Alvizo acknowledged that he “also (took) controversial issues at tinitira niya talaga (and he really hits hard).”

Alvizo said Lina was drinking with friends when he received a text message and left for the Bugak Lodging House only to meet death around 1 a.m.

Linao’s sister-in-law Neneng Legado was reported as saying she had not heard of any threats against the victim.

She also said Linao was a former barangay councilor of Mangagoy in Bislig and was planning to run in 2010 for a position in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board).

Police have yet to identify the motive behind Linao’s Murder…

Alvizo had a chilling explanation for this. “We don’t receive threats here,” he said, “we are just targeted right away.”

We call on authorities to act quickly to get to the bottom of Linao’s murder.

Even as we await more information on the reasons for Linao’s murder, we also caution those who might be tempted, as so many officials have done in other cases in the past, to try to dismiss, short of justifying, his death as not work-related.

Granting that questions may be raised about a colleague’s professional practices, we stand firm by the principle that nothing can ever justify murder.

Nestor Burgos

Chairman, NUJP
Mobile: +639172430318

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