SEN. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd has raised the need for the Senate to investigate the spate of media killings happening in the country noting that the culture of impunity against the media has worsened recently which saw three deaths in the last 12 days.
At the same time Pimentel called on police authorities to step up their campaign against criminals even as he urged them to work extra hard to arrest the suspects and find out the real masterminds behind the series of killings.
Pimentel’s call came two days after the latest murder involving radio commentator Rolegio Butalid of Tagum City, who was gunned down by unidentified assailants while he was about to leave a radio station.
The latest killing came less than a week after two other radio commentators, Michael Milo in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur and Joas Dignos in Valencia City, Bukidnon, were also ambushed by unknown assailants.
“The non-stop killings of known media personalities are obviously work-related, noting that the victims are popular among their listeners because of their exposes against corruption and other illegal activities in their areas,” he said.
Pimentel said the non-stop attack on journalist is very alarming and authorities should immediately resolve these cases and have the perpetrators jailed.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) earlier expressed dismay over the incidents, blaming the weak leadership of President Benigno Aquino 3rd as the main reason why criminals are becoming more daring and fearless.
Dante Jimenez, chair of the VACC, said that President Aquino’s poor leadership has encourage criminal elements more to carry out their operations because they know that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have other priorities than peace and order which is a responsibility of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
In a report released by international organization Reporters Without Boarders in 2011, the Philippines was including as among the 10 most dangerous places for journalists.
The organization particularly mentioned the Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro metropolitan areas where media killings take place.
“The paramilitary groups and private militias responsible were classified as “Predators of Press Freedom” in 2011. The government that took office in July has still not come up with a satisfactory response, so these groups continue to enjoy a total impunity that is the result of corruption, links between certain politicians and organized crime, and an insufficiently independent judicial system,” the report stated.