Are journalists important to PNoy?
April 25, 2012
Statement of ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG
Issued by: ALAM chairman Jerry S. Yap and ALAM president Berteni C. Causing
Are journalists important to PNoy?
Mr. President, forgive Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) for saying this.
A day after you ranted about what you do not like in the media in the April 23 affair of Philippine Press Institute (PPI), another journalist was killed as the 13th in your administration.
The National Press Club in its January 9, 2012 statement told you “A DOZEN IS TOO BRAZEN” after Tatak newspaper editor Christopher Guarin was slain on January 5, 2012 when a motorcycle-riding tandem overtook them and opened fire at the car he was driving near his home in Sunshine Subd., Lagao, General Santos City.
Minutes before, Guarin had just read during his radio program the death threat on his cellular phone that stated: “If you show up at the station tonight we’re going to kill you.”
Nothing sank in, it seems.
Then the 13th occurred!
In the evening of April 24, 2012, journalist Michael Jayson Calanasan, 36, was aboard his motorcycle with his wife when a motorcycle-riding tandem opened fire at him in the vicinity of Barangay Sta. Monica, San Pablo City.
Calanasan was hit in the face. He was brought to a hospital but expired while being treated.
Calanasan’s death came after three earlier attempts on three journalists in the months of March alone, making it “ides of March,” the month that Marcus Brutus slew Julius Caesar.”
On March 2, Iloilo Aksyon Radio blocktimer Fernando Gavio was shot by three unidentified men in the morning of that day. The 60-year-old former program director of Radio Mindanao Network in Iloilo was rushed to Iloilo Mission Hospital and survived.
In the morning of March 11, Pangasinan veteran print journalist Jaime Aquino was shot a meter away in Bayambang, Pangasinan but the gun did not burst. Two more follow-ups were made by another gunman but that other gun did not burst also. Aquino ran to his old car and drove away. He was chased and this time the gun went off three times but not one hit his car.
In the evening of March 11, Fernan Angeles, the Daily Tribune reporter covering Malacañang, was shot and his six times in the body with two kinds of pistols. He survived despite the fact that one bullet landed near his spinal column.
The only good thing done by P-Noy’s administration with respect to this issue is when its Department of Justice resolved to charge former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes and his brother Mario Joel T. Reyes, incumbent mayor of Coron, Palawan, in relation to the death by murder of Dr. Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega on January 24, 2011.
However, the police have not shown competence as the two Reyeses have remained un-arrested till today.
ALAM recalls that at the beginning of P-Noy’s term the NPC submitted a proposal to create a super body versus acts of killing journalists. The President approved it only to back-track swiftly.
Thereafter, the journalism community has been left counting—the dead, sometimes the survivors.
At the beginning of his term, he approved the proposal of the National Press Club to create a “Super Body” to specialize on investigating even age-old cases of killing mediamen.
With the never-ending story of killings committed against journalists and the apparent indifference to their welfare, ALAM has been placed in a quagmire of confusion, wondering whether press freedom is important to P-Noy despite the fact that it helped him much in his campaign for the presidency and in his war against corruption.
The complete list of 13 journalists killed since Day 1 of the term of P-Noy is as follows:
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, 2010 – Edilberto 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, 2010 – Edison 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, 2011 – Cirilo 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, 2011 – Len 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, 2011 – Romeo 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.
13. April 24, 2012 -- journalist Michael Jayson Calanasan, 36, was aboard his motorcycle with his wife when a motorcycle-riding tandem opened fire at him in the vicinity of Barangay Sta. Monica, San Pablo City.