Murder of 4th mediaman killed under Noy’s watch bred by indecisiveness
The National Press Club is grieving over the loss of another journalist shot dead on December 10, 2010 in Tabudok, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur while it is feeling exceedingly disgusted over the continued inaction by the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the case of another journalist, a radio commentator in Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte who was tortured and planted with shabu evidence to ensure imprisonment without bail to stop criticisms against the local police.
Mindanao Inquirer’s columnist Edison Flamenia Sr. was gunned down in the evening of the Human Rights Day while walking to his home in Zamboanga del Sur.
The count of the NPC shows that Flamenia is the fourth journalist killed since President Noynoy Aquino took over last July 1.
Last July 3, Jose Daguio, a 75-year-old radio commentator, was having his dinner inside his house in Barangay Tuga, Tabuk, Kalinga when he shot dead.
Last July 9, Miguel Belen was driving his motorcycle along Zone 3, Barangay San Jose Pagaraon, Nabua, Camarines Sur when he was shot at 8:30 in the evening. He was on his way home when motorcycle-riding men fired at him. He was rushed to a hospital but died due to the injuries last August 28. Edilberto Cruz, publisher of Salida tabloid, was shot dead in the evening of August 1 while driving his motorcycle along Maharlika Highway in Barangay San Juan Accfa, Cabanatuan City.
As in the case of Dipolog radio commentator Ryan D. Uy, the assaults against these four slain mediamen occurred during the night.
The assaults against Uy and the four slain media men occurred despite the fact that the main suspected perpetrators and masterminds of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre have all been put behind bars and the fact that the new president has brought forth overflowing hopes and promises that all crimes, including murders against the journalists, shall be dealt with in the harshest manner.
In fact, President Aquino and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima approved the proposal of the NPC to create a “Super Body” versus media killing. But this was eventually shelved and the NPC was promised a similar task force to be led by the newly-created Death Investigation Division of the National Bureau of Investigation. But this has yet to show its worth.
In totality, nothing has been seen as a decisive action on any of all media-related violence thus far. Nothing has been done to prevent more violence to occur.
In the case of Dipolog radioman, the NPC has written the President, the Secretary of Justice, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Office of the Ombudsman, the DILG, and the PNP but nothing has also come out of it, except for the CHR writing back that it has already conducted its own investigation into the torture of Uy and the PNP chief Raul M. Bacalzo writing back that the Internal Affairs Service of the PNP have conducted its investigation.
The NPC saw the hands of Dipolog City police chief Supt. Reynaldo Mendieta Maclang manipulating everything that it has demanded for his immediate relief to ensure that the documents are not tampered with and the witnesses are not influenced in order to have a fair investigation into the matter. To the contrary, DILG Usec. Rico Puno told the NPC president that it was a case of politicking. As such, the Club wrote a stronger message to Puno telling him he is wrong, that rather the case of the Dipolog radio commentator was one of torture and suppression of the press. Any action of Puno on this has also yet to be seen.
The NPC particularly points to the fact that the Dipolog radioman was mauled black and blue during the alleged arrest for shabu buy-bust at 11:30 in the evening of October 29 but Maclang did not bring the commentator to the nearest hospital or doctor for the necessary medical attention. He also did not enter the arrest data into the city police blotter. He also refused Mariano Uy, the father of Ryan, and their lawyer Cres Palpagan to visit the son. These circumstances compelled the father to seek help from an equalizing force such that the governor of Zamboanga del Norte, Rolando Yebes, intervened at 8:30 in the morning of Oct. 30, compelling Maclang to allow the visit, the medical checkup, and the entry of the arrest report into the blotter.
In the case of the trial of the Ampatuan Massacre, where 33 journalists were killed en masse on November 23, 2009, the NPC always knows that the President and his cabinet and other officials have no control over how to speed up the proceedings. As such, the biggest and oldest organization of newsmen filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking to constitute the present court of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes into a special court relieved of all other cases and duties to focus on the trial. The Highest Tribunal is yet to deliberate on the petition.
Nevertheless, this indecisiveness has bred further the resolve of thick-faced lords that it is still easy to silence the journalists.