Ending culture of impunity will end journalists’ murders—CEGP

MANILA, March 28, 2011—College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines-National Capital Region (CEGP-NCR) says that ending the culture of impunity in the country will stop all extrajudicial killings, especially of the media persons critical on the issues of corruption in the government.

The statement was issued as there’s pressure to Malacañang by some media groups to allow journalists to carry guns in order to defend themselves against media murderers. But the Palace’s Communications Operations Group said that there is no need to arm the media, stating that the only way to stop media killings is the swift police action in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.

However, CEGP-NCR president Antonino C. Perdigon Jr. said that police action is not enough but there’s a need to reassess how the justice system in the country works, especially on the cases of summary executions of journalists. The latest victim was the dzME anchor, Marlina Perez-Somera, who was shot dead by unknown assassins last March 24. The motive of the killing is said to be connected with land dispute.

“If the government would have the political power to end the assassinations [against journalists], then the murders would stop. However, if this kind of brutality would continue, more and more media practitioners will agree with the need of having journalists armed,” Perdigon said.

“We urge President Aquino to have sincerity in ending these assassinations. His promise to make the past regime accountable [on the past political killings] and to make the present, spotless [with crimes] is not even close to coming true. What more promises will he make? What the people need is a visible act in pursuing those responsible for these political killings. These killings need justice not pseudo-statements of support,” Perdigon added.

On the other hand, Malacañang is positive that the Somera case would be solved immediately.

In a news report published on the dzME’s website (http://www.dzme1530.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1953:pnoy-kompyansang-malulutas-ang-pagpatay-sa-dzme-anchor-reward-umakyat-na-sa-150k&catid=37:major-news&Itemid=50), President Aquino said that he is confident that the police would get the killers in no time.

The news item stated that the Philippine National Police-National Capital Region Police Office (PNP-NCRPO) had already identified the person behind the killing.

Meanwhile, Malabon City Mayor Canuto Oreta had given a P100,000 reward to those who can identify the whereabouts of the Somera’s assassins. The National Press Club had also released a P50,000 reward money for the tipster who can identify the exact location of the suspects. (Noel Sales Barcelona, for CBCPNEWS.COM)