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The ignorance that kills

By Luis V. Teodoro

Within months of his coming to power in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte’s profanities, tirades, threats, outrageous remarks about women, human rights, heads of foreign states, and what he was actually doing, had called the attention of international media — in Japan, the United States and Europe — to what was happening in the Philippines.

As early as his first 100 days in office, and as the number of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and pushers including women and children from the poorest communities escalated, they called him “serial killer,” “the punisher,” and a human rights violator indictable before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. In his second year in power they called him a “populist dictator” and a tyrant (“strongman”) in the same company as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Edrogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

In almost every case, however, the journalists who were mostly reporting on the human rights crisis in the Philippines reminded readers that Mr. Duterte was “democratically-elected.” Some also pointed out that the 16 million votes he amassed in a field of five candidates for president (Manuel Roxas II, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay and Duterte), although less than 40 percent of the total votes cast, was practically a landslide.

Both why he won, despite his admitted links to the Davao Death Squad and his threat to kill 100,000 during the anti-illegal drug campaign he vowed to launch once in power, and his continuing popularity despite the police bloodbath he encouraged, were among the questions they tried to answer.

Among the answers they proffered, based on their interviews with Filipino sources and their own analysis, was that the voters were weary of the corruption and inefficiency of past administrations, and that the tough-talking Duterte appealed to the millions of Filipino poor who have long wanted change, particularly an end to the criminality that haunts both city and countryside, and who saw no other way to achieve it except by killing criminals without recourse to legal niceties.

To this day, 70 percent of adult Filipinos think that the “war” on drugs is Mr. Duterte’s crowning achievement despite its horrific cost in lives and its enshrinement of the use of State violence as the first and at times the only “solution” to the country’s problems. Although it has always been every regime’s weapon of choice against critics, protesters, human rights defenders, political and social activists, environmentalists, indigenous peoples defending their right to their ancestral domain, and anyone else committed to the democratization of Philippine governance and society, killing as State policy has never been as openly endorsed by any president and as widely supported by his partisans than today.

Both its adoption as State policy and the support for it are premised on the assumption that crime, the drug problem included, can be eliminated by simply doing away with suspected wrong doers. That those killed in anti-drug police operations were denied their right to due process and a fair trial has been dismissed so often and so loudly on the argument that they’re necessary it has endowed lawless violence with a cloak of legitimacy. The policy ignores the social and economic roots of criminal behavior, the persistence of the culture of impunity which too often penalizes the innocent and absolves the guilty, and in many cases, the demonstration effect of the wealthy and well-connected’s literally getting away with murder that encourages gangsterism and criminality.

Together with the promotion of killing as State policy, however, is mass indifference to, and even support for, the return of dictatorship, which Mr. Duterte himself has proposed as the quick-fix solution to the country’s complex problems.

No one can blame the foreign press and other observers for being deeply surprised at the seemingly wide support for the dictatorship option. After all, did not Filipinos overthrow the Marcos terror regime only 32 years ago? Didn’t that regime imprison 100,000 men and women and kill over 3,000 of the Filipino people’s best and brightest sons and daughters? Didn’t it bloat the foreign debt from less than a billion US dollars to 30 billion? Didn’t it so empower the military it made civilian supremacy over the country’s security forces a joke?

Filipinos did oust Marcos in 1986 — and the Marcos dictatorship did all that, and worse. But many Filipinos today think that the period from 1973 to 1986 was some sort of golden age.

Their ignorance of that time proceeds from a number of causes, among them the failure of the administrations after that of Marcos’ to make sure that succeeding generations will understand what really happened. The creation of a truth commission in the manner of similar bodies in South Africa after apartheid, or in Chile after the collapse of the Pinochet dictatorship, was ever contemplated by the fragile, coup-threatened Corazon Aquino administration. The administrations that succeeded hers were focused on remaining in power, hardly cared about the threat of dictatorship, and were in fact more than willing to welcome the Marcoses back after Ferdinand Marcos’ death in 1989.

The Marcoses’ return to power — in fact the possibility today that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could be actually be president — is as difficult for foreign observers to fathom as many Filipinos’ support for a despotic president. Both are quite simply based, not solely on lack of information, but also on false information.

But that false and misleading information has become deeply rooted in the minds of many Filipinos isn’t due only to the failure of the generation that lived through the dictatorship to impart its lessons to the next. It’s also because of the unwillingness of the dynasties in control of the Philippine State to break from that sordid past, they being one and the same in economic and political interests as the Marcoses and their cronies, many of whom are back in power in both the national and local governments. Mr. Duterte’s pro-Marcos idolatry and declared preference for martial law and dictatorship have also contributed to his partisans’ clueless support for the Marcoses and for the return of authoritarian rule.

Quite openly and often accompanied by threats of physical harm against those who disagree with them, however, the apostles of “strong government” justify murder as a State prerogative in combatting crime, in the process intensifying the country’s descent into chaos and even worse violence.

Because support for what amounts to fascist rule is based on ignorance — of history, human rights, and democratic ideals — what is clearly needed is a campaign to educate the vast majority on such issues as what happened during the Marcos dictatorship, its economic, social, political and cultural costs, and the imperative of resisting any attempt to restore a rehashed version of it. What this country needs in these times of lies, hate speech, unreason and the unprecedented use of State violence is an information revolution.

Now the unashamed advocate of that foul period in history, government is so obviously unwilling and incapable of doing it. On the media, the churches, the schools, human rights defenders and on non-governmental, sectoral and people’s organizations has therefore fallen the task of combatting the ignorance that kills, and replacing it with the understanding of issues and events that can stop the ongoing slaughter of the poor, regime critics and protesters, and halt the rise of another homegrown tyranny.

First published in BusinessWorld. Photo from PCOO.

Witnesses under Church protection, hounded by state agents


Witnesses to the recent killings of minors have sought refuge with church and human rights groups while being hounded by state agents.

Human rights group Rise Up for Life and for Rights (Rise Up) announced Saturday it is providing protective custody to Thomas Bagcal after he asked them for sanctuary.

Bagcal was identified by the Philippine National Police as the taxi driver who was allegedly held up by 17-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz who ended up dead in Navotas City last August 19.

Bagcal is a potential witness in the death of Arnaiz, Rise Up said.

Arnaiz’s reported companion, 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman, was found dead with 30 stab wounds in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last September 5, nearly three weeks after the two boys went missing.

Rise Up said they affirmatively responded to the Bagcal family’s request and has been keeping him since September 4 amid the public’s queries for his whereabouts.

“[We have] provided sanctuary during the period of Mr Bagcal’s serious discernment, soul-searching, and firm decision-making,” the group said.

“We are moved by the family’s trust and confidence in Rise Up in assisting them in these very trying and challenging times,” it added in a statement.

A source told Kodao that Bagcal would soon make a public statement on the issue.

Rise Up is a network of church people and human rights advocates dedicated to working with poor families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.

The group said they ensure individuals and families of protection from harm and threat as it provides burial assistance, psychosocial therapy and spiritual formation, rehabilitation, documentation and legal assistance as they seek justice.

 ‘Thieves striking in the night’

Meanwhile, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) slammed the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for its late night attempt to take custody of a child witness to the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos.

The child and his father sought sanctuary with Caloocan Roman Catholic Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

The Saturday night standoff at Caloocan’s San Roque Cathedral ended with the father staying with his child at the church, MAT said.

“Attempts by the PAO and CIDG to pressure the father and then badmouthing him on media are signs of their bad faith,” MAT in a statement Sunday said.

“These acts put to doubt the CIDG and PAO’s capacity to conduct an impartial and just investigation of Kian’s case. Neither does it foster trust that they can provide respect and protection for witnesses,” the statement added.

The PAO through its chief Persida Acosta had been actively involved in public wrangling for the custody of witnesses to the killing of Delos Santos in Caloocan City last August 16.

“We thank Bishop David for providing sanctuary to the witness and his family at this challenging time,” MAT said.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. The PAO and CIDG tried doing this at the middle of the night and on a weekend –like thieves striking in the dark,” it added.

MAT has called for a big rally against extrajudicial killings on Sept 21, 40th anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law, at Rizal Park to demand an end to the killings. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Witnesses under Church protection, hounded by state agents


Witnesses to the recent killings of minors have sought refuge with church and human rights groups while being hounded by state agents.

Human rights group Rise Up for Life and for Rights (Rise Up) announced Saturday it is providing protective custody to Thomas Bagcal after he asked them for sanctuary.

Bagcal was identified by the Philippine National Police as the taxi driver who was allegedly held up by 17-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz who ended up dead in Navotas City last August 19.

Bagcal is a potential witness in the death of Arnaiz, Rise Up said.

Arnaiz’s reported companion, 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman, was found dead with 30 stab wounds in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last September 5, nearly three weeks after the two boys went missing.

Rise Up said they affirmatively responded to the Bagcal family’s request and has been keeping him since September 4 amid the public’s queries for his whereabouts.

“[We have] provided sanctuary during the period of Mr Bagcal’s serious discernment, soul-searching, and firm decision-making,” the group said.

“We are moved by the family’s trust and confidence in Rise Up in assisting them in these very trying and challenging times,” it added in a statement.

A source told Kodao that Bagcal would soon make a public statement on the issue.

Rise Up is a network of church people and human rights advocates dedicated to working with poor families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.

The group said they ensure individuals and families of protection from harm and threat as it provides burial assistance, psychosocial therapy and spiritual formation, rehabilitation, documentation and legal assistance as they seek justice.

 ‘Thieves striking in the night’

Meanwhile, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) slammed the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for its late night attempt to take custody of a child witness to the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos.

The child and his father sought sanctuary with Caloocan Roman Catholic Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

The Saturday night standoff at Caloocan’s San Roque Cathedral ended with the father staying with his child at the church, MAT said.

“Attempts by the PAO and CIDG to pressure the father and then badmouthing him on media are signs of their bad faith,” MAT in a statement Sunday said.

“These acts put to doubt the CIDG and PAO’s capacity to conduct an impartial and just investigation of Kian’s case. Neither does it foster trust that they can provide respect and protection for witnesses,” the statement added.

The PAO through its chief Persida Acosta had been actively involved in public wrangling for the custody of witnesses to the killing of Delos Santos in Caloocan City last August 16.

“We thank Bishop David for providing sanctuary to the witness and his family at this challenging time,” MAT said.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. The PAO and CIDG tried doing this at the middle of the night and on a weekend –like thieves striking in the dark,” it added.

MAT has called for a big rally against extrajudicial killings on Sept 21, 40th anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law, at Rizal Park to demand an end to the killings. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

STREETWISE by Carol P Araullo: Justice for Kian, justice for all

The cold-blooded murder of 17-year-old senior high school student, Kian Loyd delos Santos, by Caloocan police, in what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte loudly proclaims as his administration’s unrelenting “war on drugs,” has unleashed a firestorm of protest.

No, Justice Secretary Aguirre, people are not buying your line that Kian’s killing is an “isolated case” that has been “overblown” by the mass media. Coming on the heels of a spate of killings (74 in just 3 days) in “one time, big time” police operations in the slum areas of Bulacan and Manila, Kian’s death is only unique in that CCTV footage and eyewitnesses point unerringly to his merciless beating and execution by policemen in plainclothes.

Neither are they buying the incredible story dished out by the police, without an iota of evidence except their say so, that Kian was a drug courier for his father and uncle. After the fact of his killing in the hands of the police, an alleged drug pusher who claims to have had dealings with Kian is trotted out together with allegations of nonspecific incriminating evidence police investigators discovered, again incredibly, in social media.

Authorities cannot even claim Kian to be the unfortunate but inevitable “collateral damage” of their determined efforts to stamp out the illicit drug trade. Unlike scores of other minors mowed down in Oplan Tokhang and its reinvigorated version, Oplan Double Barrel, who supposedly died in the cross fire, Kian was fatally shot twice in the head, at close range, while prostrate or kneeling, according to official forensic findings.

Yes, oh yes, President Duterte, this one is on you. You egged your police (actually, even your military, but they are too busy with counter-terrorism cum counter-insurgency operations) to “kill, kill, kill” as your administration kept missing your self-imposed deadline for eradicating the drug problem in three months, then six months, and now you admit, maybe not even till the end of your six-year term of office. (Was it just another foot-in-mouth gaffe or were you dead serious when you lauded the Bulacan police for killing 32 drug suspects in 24 hours and called for such a “fine” example to be emulated by the rest of your police forces.)

The more the police killed those who they claim to be in some “drug watch list,” Duterte could unabashedly claim progress, if not success, in his brutal “war on drugs.”

But in light of international criticism of the mounting body count, the police have whittled the official number of police kills down to around 2500, with a similar number being “deaths under investigation” (police speak for killings attributed to vigilantes and/or drug gang rivalry). Nonetheless, mass media and other independent tallies have the running total anywhere between 7000 to more than 10,000.

A system of quotas and rewards for eliminating small-time drug addicts and pushers apparently is in place thus the propensity for periodic raids on urban poor communities to flush them out or to out rightly kill suspects without affording them any kind of due process.

Duterte provided the perfect alibi: the police have the right to employ lethal force in self-defense should a suspect resist arrest or is armed and dangerous. The police picked up the cue from their Commander-in-Chief and so invariably, suspects are reportedly killed in a gun battle with the police, the former initiating the encounter by firing a gun. The police in turn are such sharpshooters no matter the lighting or spatial conditions that suspects always get fatally shot. Or if they are brought into custody alive, they invariably try to grab a police escort’s gun and end up getting killed.

Duterte then promised that with this role play of the police “merely doing their job,” he would protect them from legal prosecution and if convicted, he would pardon them. Such presidential cloak of impunity was proven in the case of Superintendent Marvin Marcos, head of the raiding team that killed alleged drug lord Mayor Rolando Espinosa while in jail. Marcos was reinstated upon Duterte’s direct order to PNP Chief Dela Rosa.

This impunity apparently is also operative in the case of the slaughter by police of the notorious Mayor Parojinog and 14 others, in a shadowy operation to serve a search warrant on a “narcopolitician.” There has been no serious investigation on this case and Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido who led the assault team will likely get a promotion in short order. (He already enjoyed being lionized in the media as someone who got some big fish in the anti-drug war.)

Duterte has been encouraged by the seeming general public approval, if not praise, for his actions. He hit on a nerve — society’s fear of heinous crimes being committed by shabu-crazed addicts or even just neighborhood addicts cum toughies lording it over their unpoliced communities. He had promised to end it swiftly, if brutally.

But only the bad guys were supposed to bear the full brunt of the Duterte regime’s “war on drugs” and maybe an acceptable number of “collateral damage.” And even if disturbing evidence of the extrajudicial killings were splashed on television screens, the front page of newspapers and the internet, the public was lulled into thinking that the victims were society’s dregs and were thus dispensable.

Until the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos.

A teenager who had dreams of being a policeman someday. The eldest child of an OFW mother slaving away in Saudi Arabia to support her children and a father tending a small sari-sari store to make ends meet. A grade 11 student who begged the plainclothes policemen who were beating him up to please stop as he had an examination the following day. An ordinary fellow with no record and no reputation in the neighborhood of being involved with illegal drugs in any way. A right-handed person who supposedly shot at the police with his left hand. Whose ordeal was caught on CCTV and seen by several witnesses.

Thus he became Everyman — any poor but struggling parents’ son — minding his own business yet finding himself in the crosshairs of the Duterte regime’s “war on drugs.” This is exemplified in the social media post #IAmKian.

All of a sudden there is widespread outrage and dismay. Kian’s murder has unlocked the Pandora’s box of official deception about the effectiveness of the “war on drugs” and of the official cover-up of the horrible crimes being committed in its name.

The public outcry is simple and straightforward: Stop the killings! Justice for Kian, justice for all! To achieve these demands there is the urgent need to expose the mastermind and make him ultimately accountable. #

(Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and proud mother of two. This article was first published as an opinion piece by BusinessWorld: http://bworldonline.com/justice-kian-justice/)

[Photo by Danny de Guzman / Kodao Productions]

 

STREETWISE BY CAROL P. ARAULLO: Unmasking Duterte

These days, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is turning out to be his own worst enemy.

He cannot keep himself from rambling on and on, revealing his bloodlust, megalomania, contempt for objectivity and truth, small-mindedness and bigotry, gullibility for the “intelligence” briefings by the AFP and the propensity for using strong-arm techniques to get his way.

A year ago, at the beginning of Duterte’s presidency, his crassness seemed to be just an idiosyncratic style born of his being an uncouth politician from the boondocks, used to the rough-and-tumble and straight-talking ways of those who are reared in the frontiers of Mindanao.

Many ordinary folk found him engaging, even refreshingly tactless, hence appearing to be honest and sincere.

What was important is that he promised to wipe out the illicit drugs trade in three to six months by means of a bloody “war on drugs”; zero tolerance for graft and corruption; a stop to the practice of “endo” (end-of-contract) that undermined workers’ security of tenure; easing the burden of taxation while spending more on social services for the poor; siding with landless peasants in their fight against the landed oligarchy; an end to the despoilment of the environment through large-scale mining; and to top it all, to release all political prisoners and bring about a negotiated, peaceful settlement of armed conflicts by engaging in peace talks. He also did the unexpected by appointing three avowed Leftists in his Cabinet.

High hopes abounded as well as serious misgivings. The revolutionary and progressive forces on the Left of the political spectrum decided to give Duterte a chance to prove his claims to being the first “Leftist” and “socialist” President.

While long-time mayor of Davao City, traces of his Leftist background surfaced in so far as 1) he acknowledged the CPP-NPA as a political entity born of endemic poverty and oppression; 2) he had a modus vivendi with the CPP-NPA with regard to their de facto existence as a shadow government, including their collection of revolutionary taxes and punitive actions against exploitative and oppressive businesses; 3) he did not consider “all-out war” as the correct or even viable solution to insurgency; 4) he maintained open lines of communication with the CPP-NPA 5) he upheld the human rights of rebels and political activists; 5) he asserted political independence versus US military intrusions in Davao City; 6) he welcomed peace negotiations as a means of resolving armed conflicts by addressing their root causes in unjust socioeconomic and political structures.

A short year later, Duterte is close to fully unfolding towards the Right. Whatever background of activism in his youth has become overwhelmed by the conservatism of his adult years as a politician in the mold of a bureaucrat capitalist until winning the presidency and becoming CEO of the reactionary state.

President Duterte has scuttled peace talks by insisting on an indefinite, bilateral cease-fire even before reaching a comprehensive agreement on socioeconomic reforms (CASER). Duterte not only failed to fulfill his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners, he continued his regime’s brutal counterinsurgency program including the bombardment of civilian communities suspected to be supportive of the CPP-NPA and the targeted killings of unarmed activists.

He resorts to lies and ad hominem attacks on NDFP Chief Political Consultant and CPP Founding Chairperson Joma Sison to belittle, insult, and dismiss him as a revolutionary leader. He parrots the worn-out AFP line demonizing the CPP-NPA as terrorists and plain criminals extorting from the people and businesses.

Duterte is in over his head. His conceit is that his overrated stint in Davao City provides him the blueprint for dealing with the complexities of the country’s historical ills. He misrepresents authoritarianism for political will and resort to mass murder and bullying tactics for decisive leadership.

Duterte’s opportunistic alliances with the Marcoses and ex-President Gloria Arroyo, his over dependence on the pro-US, militarist troika of Lorenzana-Año-Esperon and pandering to the AFP and PNP to preempt a coup attempt by his rivals — all these reveal that he is indeed an ultra-reactionary contrary to his self-delusional pose as a “leftist.”

But as a Marcos wannabe, Duterte lacks sophistication. His expressed intention to bomb lumad schools as a counterinsurgency measure makes him vulnerable to charges of genocide and other war crimes. His demagoguery is repetitive and tiresome. His resort to martial law in Mindanao and the destruction of Marawi City to deal with the disastrous Mamasapano-like police operation against Isnilon Hapilon is a testament to his incompetence and brutality as a commander-in-chief.

Duterte’s “war on drugs” is an unmitigated failure. It’s outcome: an unending body count of alleged small-time drug users and dealers, victims of extrajudicial killing by police and touted vigilantes incited on their murderous killing spree by no less than President Duterte. Impunity reigns with Duterte shielding the police establishment that he once described as “rotten to the core” from investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and the Ombudsman. A police official, coincidentally surnamed Marcos, who stands accused of murdering a suspected drug lord while in jail has been reinstated and will soon be eligible for promotion upon the specific instruction of no less than President Duterte.

Duterte’s economic policies and programs have not departed from the failed policies of his predecessors in keeping the economy backward and the majority of the people eking out a precarious existence with no stable sources of livelihood or forced to take their chances working overseas. His resort to dole-outs, including one-time subsidies for higher education, is unsustainable. Social services like housing and health care remain unaffordable, of poor quality and inadequate. Whatever economic growth benefits foreign multinationals, their domestic business partners and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

Finally, Duterte has maintained his off-and-on diatribe against the US, citing its track record as a brutal colonizer of the Philippines and as an exponent of wars of aggression against sovereign countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. His tirades intensify as criticisms from US quarters of his regime’s bloody war on drugs intensifies and as the US government hedges on the delivery of armaments and other forms of military aid.

But as the US well knows, Duterte is not about to touch any of the lopsided military agreements such as EDCA and the VFA that allows US military presence on Philippine soil and power projection in the Asia Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s courtship of China for loans and investments is leading us to debt peonage to a new master and abandonment of our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

The Duterte regime is headed towards complete unmasking and isolation as anti-people unless it drastically changes course. Unfortunately, there are few signs that this can or will happen. # (First published in BusinessWorld, 31 July 2017 / carol_araullo@yahoo.com)

 

Black Friday protest vs impunity held at Camp Crame

A multi-sectoral rally was held at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame to protest the killings in the Duterte government’s “war on drugs,” citing the brazenness by which the crimes were committed, mostly among the urban poor residents.

Rights group Karapatan said Pres. Duterte is “partly to blame for this brutality as he condones the police actions done in the name of his ‘war on drugs.”

The protesters called on the government to instead focus its attention to ‘economic reforms that would address poverty and violence”, which are among the reasons why the drug problem persists. (Video by Divine C. Miranda) Read more

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)