Give me death or liberty!

Give me death or liberty!

(A repost from my other website, )

        This is the real state of the press in the Philippines. Killing journalists is a never-ending story.  This country has two classes of assaults on the press: by installment and by the mass. Whatever is the kind of slaying, they are both contemptuous not only to those who died, but to the freedom of the press itself.        Even if there is no suppression coming from the government, bad elements in the society who are usually influential people pose the biggest threat to the Freedom of the Press.  If in many other cases of harassment journalists usually get charged with criminal libel violations, a little less got the supreme sacrifice: death.

    The legal environment in the Philippines is also unfriendly.  It is filled with libel laws, anti-drug statute and other criminal laws and other penal measures that have been used to harass the press.

        In other words, it is virtually a sense that the journalists are placed in a situation to chose between death or to press exercising full liberty of the press.

        Indeed, the statistics of how many journalists were killed tells it all.

        If we consider alone the data of journalists slain from July 1, 2010 up to this day (January 9, 2012), there were already 12 who were killed in similar manner: shooting by the hired guns.

        These 12 slain mediamen are the following:

            1.      July 3, 2010 -- 75-year-old radio commentator and community journalist Jose Daguio was shot dead at 8 p.m. while having a dinner inside his house in Barangay Tuga, Tabuk, Kalinga.  The police claimed he was killed by known cattle rustlers.
               2.      July 9, 2010 -- Miguel Belen, field reporter of DWEB FM station in Nabua, Camarines Sur, was shot at along Zone 3, Barangay San Jose Pagaraon, Nabua at 8:30 p.m.
            3.      August 1, 2010Edilberto Cruz, publisher of Salida tabloid in Nueva Ecija, was shot in the evening while driving a motorcycle along Maharlika Highway in Barangay San Juan Accfa, Cabanatuan City
             4.      December 10, 2010Edison Flameniana Sr., columnist of Mindanao Inquirer was shot dead on December 10, 2010 in Tabudok, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur
             5.      January 24, 2011 -- Dr. Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega was shot dead while inside an Ukay-Ukay Store in Puerto Princesa, after coming from his radio program
             6.      February 1, 2011Cirilo Gallardo, 38, a broadcaster of DWWW Spirit 96.9 FM and a teacher of the Divine Word College, a resident of Barangay Velasco, Tayum, Abra, was found dead with 13 stab wounds inside his room at the transmitter site of the radio station in Barangay Bangbangar, Bangued, Abra.
           7.      March 24, 2011Len Flores Somera was shot dead on the nape in Maysilo, Malabon City while she was waiting for a ride to her radio program over DZME.
                 8.      June 13, 2011Romeo Olea, reporter-announcer of DWEB-FM based on Nabua town, who is also a writer-reporter of Bicol Mail, a regional newspaper, was shot at 5:30 p.m. while driving his motorcycle.  The incident occurred in front of Holy Child Learning Center at the Iriga-Nabua boundary while on his way to report to work.  He sustained two gunshot wounds in the stomach of a 9-mm gun.
                 9.      August 22, 2011 – Niel Aranga Jimena was shot dead at 5:30 p.m. by two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle while the victim was driving his own motorcycle in EB Magalona in the direction of Bacolod City.  A native of La Paz, Iloilo City who moved to Hacienda Teresa in EB Magalona town was an anchorman at the defunct dyRP in Iloilo and dyAG in Cadiz City.   Moments before his death, Jimena was preparing to broadcast as a block-timer at dyRI of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), according to his friend Larry Trinidad, a reporter of dyHB of RMN in Bacolod.  Police said that a brief chase occurred first before the anchorman’s motorcycle fell on its side in Barangay 3, Poblacion in EB Magalona.   The police added that the victim appeared to be calling for help when he was finally gunned down.
                10.  October 14, 2011 -- Datu Roy Quijada Gallego was shot dead at 5:15 p.m. on national the highway in Sitio Mamparasanon, Barangay Banahaw in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.  A Manobo tribe leader whose name with this indigenous group is Datu Bagtikan was the president of Bayanihan Council of Datus (BACODA) in Caraga Region at the time of his death.  He used to deliver commentaries and public affairs programs on air in Butuan City’s DXJM a.m. and DXSF in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.  His wife Elisa said that he used to criticize the neglect of the tribesmen by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). In fact, BACODA filed complaints against officials of the NCIP, Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
                 11.  November 11, 2011 – Alfredo “Dodong” Velarde Jr. was shot six times at 3:45 p.m. by one of the two motorcycle-riding men just outside his office in General Santos City.  The incident occurred while Velarde and his companion were inside his pick-up vehicle parked just outside the Brigada Complex Bldg. on NLSA Road, Bayanihan, Barangay San Isidro, General Santos City and they were waiting for the security guard to open their office.  The companion was said to have escaped unharmed.  He was the circulation manager of Brigada News Philippines at the time of his death.
                 12.  January 5, 2012 – Christopher Guarin was shot several times until he was killed in the presence of his wife Lyn and 9-year-old daughter at 10:00 p.m. while he was driving to go to their home in Sunrise Subdivision in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City.  He was the editor of Tatak tabloid newspaper and who was also working as a radio commentator.  He was said to be frequently receiving death threats, the last of which he even read during his radio program, which message read: “If you show up at the station tonight we’re going to kill you.” As is usual in other slayings, two men on a motorcycle tried to overtake them while they were near their subdivision, shortly after he fetched her from Tatak office.
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