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Columnist-publisher is first journalist killed under Duterte

A columnist and publisher is the first media killing victim under the Rodrigo Duterte government.

Larry Que of the two-week old community newspaper Catanduanes News Now died 1:45 a.m. Tuesday after he was shot by a gunman wearing a bonnet and raincoat who then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice Monday morning in Virac.

Que’s murder came after he wrote a column criticizing local officials following the recent discovery of a shabu laboratory in the province.

Que’s column, written in Bicolano, blamed the negligence of local government leaders for the shame the discovery of the laboratory had brought the province.

He also wrote it was likely the Chinese nationals who set up the laboratory had help from Chinese residents of the island province.

Fear

In a statement, the Catanduanes chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philppines (NUJP) said Que’s murder has sown fear within the local media community.

It said a number of journalists fear they might be the next target for their reports on the shabu laboratory, said to be the largest discovered in the country.

NUJP-Catanduanes also said Broadcaster Jinky Tabor revealed she received threats after acting as media witness during the police raid on the shabu laboratory.

Last November 8, Northern Watch columnist and dwPR broadcaster Virgilio Maganes survived a slay try by playing dead after a gunman shot him inside a tricycle he was riding to the radio station in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

The NUJP said the suspects tried to make the slay try on Maganes appear to be a drug-related hit as the victim saw a cardboard with a “Pusher Ako Huwag Tularan (I am a pusher, do not be like me)” written on it.

“This added dimension to the thankfully unsuccessful attempt on Maganes’ life highlights the increasing risks faced not only by journalists but by most anyone who may be killed with impunity in the name of the government’s war on drugs,” the NUJP at the time noted. (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

STATEMENT
July 1, 2016

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the assassination attempt on our Surigao City colleague Saturnino “Jan” Estanio of Radio Mindanao Network-dxRS, which left him, his 12-year old son, and a neighbor slightly wounded. Read more

STATEMENT: Journalists are not the enemy

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte errs in declaring that most journalists are being killed for being corrupt and in implying that only corrupt journalists have been killed in the Philippines. While corruption is a continuing problem in the press and media, it is simply not true that most of the journalists killed in the line of duty were killed because they were corrupt. On the contrary. Most of those killed were in fact exposing corruption and criminal activities in the communities, and for their social and political advocacies. The Pagadian city journalist Edgar Damalerio was killed in 2003 for exposing wrongdoing in the local government; Marlene Esperat was killed in Tacurong city for exposing anomalies in the Department of Agriculture; and Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega was killed for his environmental advocacy in Puerto Princesa. Read more

OPEN LETTER: It’s about the culture of impunity in our country!

3 June 2016

Dear President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,

That was quite a mouthful you unleashed on media Thursday night. We do appreciate your reminder that, yes, we journalists are not a uniformly lily-white breed, in fact none of us are, although we would not go so far as to consider ourselves in the same line of work as publicists, for theirs is a totally different field as you yourself pointed out. Read more

STATEMENT: Nothing justifies the murder of journalists!

It is appalling that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should justify the murder of journalists in the country by playing the corruption card.

In his press conference in Davao City Tuesday, Mr. Duterte issued the broad assertion that “most journalists killed are corrupt.”

“Just because you’re a journalist doesn’t mean you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said.

“Freedom of expression won’t save you,” he added. “The Constitution cannot help you kapag binaboy mo ang isang tao.” Read more

BAYAN MUNA: MEDIA ATTACKS SHOW AQUINO ADMIN’S INUTILITY

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Bayan Muna Reps.Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate condemn the inutility of the Aquino administration in the midst of continuing attacks and threats against the media.

The solons issued the statement in reaction to the ambush by unidentified armed group on an ABS-CBN crew in Marawi, Lanao del Sur last Saturday.

“The sheer inutility of the Aquino government in stopping attacks and threats on journalists and critics of the government in the past five years is the very culprit of this continuing state of impunity in our country,”Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said.

The ambush occurred after a military-backed paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani also openly vowed to ambush journalists covering the anniversary of communist rebels in Surigao del Sur.

“This worsening state of impunity and lawlessness is now becoming a hallmark of the exiting Aquino administration,” said Rep. Zarate, himself a former journalist based in Mindanao.

“In particular, the Magahat-Bagani group are no different from the terrorist group Abu Sayaff by openly uploading a video in social media directly threatening members of the press. Even more dangerous, they also emulate the dreaded Jovito Palparan’s definition of who are their enemies and who are not,” Rep. Zarate said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Colmenares said that “like the case of the infamous 2009 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, the ambush on the ABS-CBN crew and the threats issued by the Magahat-Bagani group is “emblematic of the dangers posed by private armies, militias, and paramilitaries.”

“This lends credence to the existence of government’s policy, tacit or otherwise, of allowing the burgeoning of private armies as pawns of the military and police in the government’s counter-insurgency campaigns,”added Colmenares.

“As a result, human rights abuses – particularly those directed to opposition members or critics of government and its policies – have apparently become part of the political environment because of the failure of the government to bring those responsible to justice. The Aquino administration, he said, is not serious in addressing the problem posed by paramilitary or private armed groups,” said the Makabayan senatorial candidate.

Rep. Zarate added that “contrary to his campaign promise, Pres. Aquino reneged on the revocation of Executive Order 546, issued in 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which allows the arming of paramilitary groups,”

“It was the same EO cited by the Ampatuans to justify the existence of its “private army” to consolidate its dynastic hold of Maguindanao and the ARMM but in the guise of supposedly fighting the Moro rebels,” said Zarate.

“As it is now, Executive Order 546 is still an available tool for warlords, powerful politicians and the military to justify arming these militias for political and economic ends.The Philippines is now ranked as the fourth worst spot where journalists have been murdered without a single perpetrator being convicted, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2015 Global Impunity Index,” he added.

“Since September 2005, at least 44 journalists were murdered with complete impunity, including seven (7) under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III,” ended Zarate. ###

News Release
December 28, 2015
References: Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate