Journalists in black during the nationwide coordinated day of indignation

The nationwide coordinated day of indignation, organized by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), took place a day after Carmelo "Mark" Palacios, Nueva Ecija reporter of government-run Radyo ng Bayan, was laid to rest.

Palacios was found dead last week, his body battered and a gunshot through his chin. He was the 51st journalist murdered under the Arroyo administration and the 88th since the democratic restoration of 1986.

A day after this, Delfin Mallari Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent, and dzMM's Johnny Glorioso, were on their way to host a radio program when ambushed by two motorcycle-riding gunmen.

Mallari was wounded.

In the same week, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia sued veteran broadcaster and newspaper  columnist Leo Lastimosa over his exposes on the alleged scams surrounding the preparations for the 12th ASEAN Summit. And in Albay, dzRH's Jun Alegre was arrested on a 10-year old libel case.

In Lucena City, Mallari, in a wheelchair, led more than 80 colleagues himself in a march around the town followed by an indignation rally to challenge the national government and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to put an end to the unabated attacks on members of the media.

Joining the Quezon journalists was a contingent from Batangas led by members of the Batangas Newswriters' Association and NUJP-Batangas.

Aside from the rally in Quezon, NUJP provincial chapters in Baguio, Iloilo, Sorsogon, Bacolod, Davao, Olongapo, Kidapawan City, Cagayan deOro City, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija held their own activities.

NUJP secretary general Rowena Paraan, who joined the Quezon protest, challenged the PNP and Task Force Usig to put the masterminds of attacks on journalists behind bars.

Paraan said of the 88 cases since 1986, there have only been four convictions, and only of the gunmen, none of the masterminds.

"The PNP should explain why, despite their various claims that they were doing everything to solve these killings, they have failed to jail the masterminds of these killings," she said.

The NUJP is planning to initiate a dialogue with the PNP and key Malacañang officials to discuss concrete measures how to stop the violence against members of the media.

Jose Torres, Jr, Chairperson
Rowena Carranza-Paraan, Secretary-General