Survivor leads World Press Freedom day rites

World Press Freedom Day is on Sunday, May 3. But the activity will be held sometime this week.

One of the suspects in the attack on Martinez, who is also a pastor of the Church of God World Mission, is a soldier.

Since then, Martinez has been placed under the government’s witness protection program, according to City Prosecutor Al Calica, who is heading a special group of prosecutors tasked to follow up cases of media killings and harassments in the region.

On the scheduled luncheon meeting sometime this week, Calica will brief the media on developments of Martinez’s case.

Martinez, a block time anchor of the Manila Broadcasting Company-affiliated Radyo Natin, was shot in the back on April 11, 2005 in Barangay Oasis, Kabacan town in North Cotabato.

Among his assailants, Martinez said, are a certain Cpl. Obregon of the 7th Infantry Battalion and a certain Quinones. He said they might have been slighted because of his remarks on drug trafficking during one of his radio programs.

Martinez was reportedly driving a motorcycle along the highway on the evening of April 11, 2005 when he saw Obregon and two others tailing him. He stopped his bike and confronted them.

It was at this instant when Obregon, using a caliber .45 caliber pistol, shot him twice on his stomach, Martinez claimed. One of the bullets is reportedly still embedded in his liver.

He is still half-paralyzed until this day, and considers himself a “living dead.”

“I have lived with a catheter since I was shot. I am like a living dead. I also have no other means to support my family,” said Martinez.

For now, Martinez is being supported by, among others, the NUJP Media Safety Office in Manila. He was given financial assistance and his two children, Angelica and Mark Angelo, were given scholarships under the NUJP Media Safety Program.

Reports said 31 journalists have been killed since 2001. But of the 26 cases filed so far, only two have been solved, with four people convicted.

Last April, the Regional Trial Court in Davao City sentenced Joy Anticamera to 17 years of imprisonment after being found guilty of homicide for killing in 2006 Armando “Rakman” Pace, a broadcaster from Radyo Ukay in Digos City, Davao del Sur. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)