Jan. 24, 2019
On this day eight years ago, environmentalist, good governance advocate and broadcaster Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega was shot dead in an ukay-ukay shop in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
Eight years after, justice remains elusive for Doc Gerry and his family.
Doc Gerry’s case is illustrative of nearly all the media killings in this country or, more accurately, the ones authorities, with no trace of irony, consider “solved.”
For, while the hired guns and accomplices who planned and carried out the hit on Doc Gerry have been tried and convicted, the masterminds remain scot free.
Studies by media groups indicate that most murders of journalists are ordered by local politicians or government officials seeking to silence criticism and prevent scrutiny of their corruption and other misdeeds.
That they remain unpunished proves that injustice in the country – not only for slain journalists but for practically each and every Filipino whose rights have been violated – is rooted in a system of governance in which the corrupt and abusive thrive.
As we remember Doc Gerry, we also honor his family, whose courage and determination to pursue justice have been and will continue to be an inspiration for other families of slain journalists and all those seeking the same ends.
Even as we continue to demand justice for Doc Gerry and for each and every one of the 185 colleagues we have lost since 1996, let us remain steadfast in fulfilling our mandate as journalists – to be the people’s watchdogs against misgovernance and serve their right to know.
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES