While we remain wholly optimistic that the truth behind this latest media killing will be unearthed in the end, we do not find comfort in the mere presentation of a supposed assailant, or even perhaps in the filing of the case.
Two suspects had so far been separately apprehended for illegal possession of firearms. They are now free on bail. One of them was charged with murder in relation to the death of our colleague, but we have yet to know the strength of the evidence that the law enforcers have on him.
As things are, there obviously remains much to be done for justice to be served on our colleague.
We challenge authorities to be brave enough in unmasking the truth, to pin down the perpetrators and masterminds, scouring all scenarios and possibilities that may have led to this dastardly crime.
We continue to hold that there is no substitute to the full conclusion of the Lintuan murder case, and so with the other incidence of killings of our colleagues in the past, but the resolution of the case and the certain conviction of the perpetrators.
Only a conviction will assuage and reassure us once more that in this country, press freedom is still alive, and that the messenger need not fear for his life while he takes on the role of a watchdog.
We call on our fellow journalists in Davao and the entire country to keep our ranks intact, solidly fighting and courageously crusading.
There remains much to be done. We shall not fear. We shall not be cowed. We shall remain unbowed.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Davao Chapter (NUJP-Davao)
Davao City, Philippines
1 February 2008