Two broadcasters, from opposite ends of the country, murdered in as many days. One hundred and thirty-nine media workers killed since 1986, 106 of them under this thankfully soon-to-be-gone administration.
Nothing makes a stronger case for our contention that there can be no honeymoon on justice for president-elect Noynoy Aquino.
If he is to make good on his campaign promise of good governance, he should take the murders of Davao Oriental’s Desiderio Camangyan and Ilocos Norte’s Joselito Agustin as a personal challenge to end the culture of impunity that has for so long emboldened those who seek to silence the independent Philippine press, making a mockery of our claims to being a democracy.
Camangyan, anchorman of Sunshine FM in Mati, Davao Oriental, died from a single shot to the head as he sat onstage while emceeing a village singing contest in Manay town around 10:30 p.m. Monday night.
Agustin, 37, a commentator of dzJC Aksyon Radyo-Laoag, was shot by motorcycle-riding assassins on his way home to Bacarra town around 24 hours later. He died at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday while undergoing treatment at a hospital.
These killings, barely half a month before a new administration takes the reins of government, clearly indicate that the enemies of press freedom remain confident that they can continue to escape accountability even under a new dispensation.
If there is any pronouncement Aquino will be justified in making even before he is inaugurated, it is to send an unequivocal message to our law enforcers and justice officials to end the killings, arrest the perpetrators, convict and jail them.
And lest we forget, in the same manner he has promised to make his predecessor accountable for the corruption that marked the past nine years, we also call on him to make her equally accountable for the apathy her administration showed toward the bloodiest period in the history of the Philippine media.
Noynoy has to hit the ground running not just on media killings but on extrajudicial murders in general.
Unless it becomes clear that justice can be expected under his watch, we can kiss all his promises goodbye.
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