On journalists and objectivity

Today is the 91st birth anniversary of Antonio Zumel II, a pioneer of unionism among media workers. A former national president of the National Press Club, he was proclaimed a hero of the Philippines in 2016 at his name’s inclusion at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

Acknowledged by his peers as an impeccable writer, including former House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Zumel worked as reporter at The Philippine Herald and editor at the Manila Bulletin. He went underground on the night Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law on September 22, 1972. He went on to edit the underground newsletter Ang Bayan of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Liberation and its news service Balita ng Malayang Pilipino of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and regional newsletter Dangadang.

After Marcos was deposed in 1986, Zumel served as member of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in its peace negotiations with the Corazon Aquino government. In 1990, he was elected chairperson of the NDFP while seeking political asylum in The Netherlands. He died of kidney failure and diabetes in Europe in 2001.

Ampatuan Massacre: Still no justice after six years

On the sixth year of the Ampatuan Massacre journalists marched from the National Press Club (NPC) to Mendiola to demand justice for the 58 victims, including 34 journalists.

NPC members were joined by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-National Capital Region Chapter.

The Ampatuan Massacre is said to be the worst such incident in human history that killed the most number of journalists in a single day. It is also considered the worst election-related crime in Philippine history.

As a presidential candidate in 2010, Benigno Aquino promised justice to the victims. Very near the end of his six year term, the Aquino presidency still has to deliver on its promise.

NPC Pres. Joel Egco and BAYAN-NCR Sec-Gen. Mong Palatino spoke at the rally before an effigy of “Pnoy-chio” was burned.