NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Jan. 6, 2012
GUARIN’S KILLING IS A STARK REMINDER OF IMPUNITY
2012, a new year but little changed than years past in the murder of media workers in the Philippines.
The gunmen who attacked Christopher Guarin, publisher of the General Santos City-based Tatak News, Wednesday night made sure he was dead. They shot him at least five times in the body and once in the head, ambushing him as he drove home with his wife and nine-year old daughter, and then chasing him down as he tried to flee.
Guarin was the first journalist murdered in the Philippines this year, less than a week into the New Year.
He joins the long list of murdered Filipino journalists – 150 since 1986, 10 of them under the Aquino administration – all of whom continue to cry out for genuine justice. For, in the 10 cases that have seen convictions, only those who pulled the trigger were punished. No one who ever gave the order to kill a journalist has been convicted.
His death is a stark reminder that impunity in the country remains very much alive, fostered by the glaring lack of inaction, even apathy, by government, belying President Benigno Aquino III’s pledge of justice and respect for rights in his quest for “tuwid na daan.”
We demand that Mr. Aquino unequivocally order all concerned agencies not just to arrest and ensure the conviction of Guarin’s killers, including the masterminds, but also to – on pain of sanctions – end all extrajudicial killings and ensure justice to the victims.
Unless you do, Mr. President, the blood of Guarin and everyone else, past, present and future, for whom justice is denied will ever stain your hands.
Nestor P. Burgos Jr.