The Philippines would continue to be ingloriously dubbed as the â€œkilling fields of journalistsâ€ of the world unless the culprits are immediately brought to justice in order to restore public faith in the countryâ€™s criminal justice system.
We call on concerned authorities to exert with civic spirited promptness in taking action to identify, arrest and eventually prosecute the suspects behind the killings of three local journalists recently in Sorsogon, Davao and Misamis Occidental.
Teodoro â€œTio Dodoyâ€ Escanilla, 59, a radio anchor for station DZMS, chairman of Anakpawis, and spokesperson of the human rights group Karapatan in Sorsogon, was gunned down in his home in Barangay Tagdon, Barcelona, Sorsogon last August 19.
Gregorio â€œLoloâ€ Ybanez, 65, a writer for the local newspaper Bagting sa Katilingban, and a member of the board of directors of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, was shot dead by unknown assassins while he was on his way home on August 18.
Cosme Diez Maestrado, a hard-hitting broadcaster and anchor of dxOC, an affiliate of station dzXl Radio Mindanao Network, was killed after he was shot 10 times by unidentified gunmen only on Thursday in downtown Ozamiz City.
It is unfortunate that such tragedies have befallen these local journalists
The first step in obtaining justice is solving the crime and arresting the suspects.
The Philippines has already earned that derided tag as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world, recalling the so-called Maguindanao Massacre when 52 journalists were killed by the henchmen of the late Gov. Andal Ampatuan five years ago.
The rampant media killings and continued extrajudicial killings along with disappearances of known activists have ruined the countryâ€™s image, worsened by the impunity that these heinous crimes were carried out by what police believed to be hired killers. (By Atty. Jay Dejaresco)