Unsolved shooting of broadcaster led to attempt on life of another – criminologists

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/28 November) — Organized criminologists yesterday said the failure of law enforcers to bring to justice the attackers of a former local broadcaster in 2009 encouraged the commission of a similar crime last Thursday, this time against dxIF-Bombo Radyo chief of reporters Michael James Licuanan.

The Professional Criminologists Association of the Philippines (PCAP) was referring to the shooting of Nilo Labares, then a commentator at dxCC-Radio Mindanao Network.

The Labares case has remained unsolved and is no longer being investigated.

Gunmen on a motorcycle shot Labares in the back in Macasandig here in March 2009. Licuanan’s assailants also rode a motorcycle.

Dr. Manuel Jaudian, PCAP president, said he feared that more journalists would be attacked by criminals following last week’s shooting of Licuanan, popularly known on air as “James Dacoycoy.”

“I blame the attack on James (Licuanan) on the failure of the police to solve the Labares case. Now, gunmen are emboldened to shoot journalists because they are confident that authorities would not be able to do anything. The criminals think they can get away with it,” he said during an emergency meeting of local journalists called by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) and National Union of Journalists in the Philippines-Cagayan de Oro.

Jaudian is a former president of COPC.

After the meeting at the press club, a small group of journalists staged a rally in downtown Cagayan de Oro to dramatize their demand for speedy justice.

Jaudian said the Licuanan case would likely end up becoming a cold case just like Labares’s. “They (police) haven’t even arrested the suspects in the shooting of Nilo (Labares) yet and now, they are making the same promises.”

COPC president Santiago “Bobby” Goking Jr. said the rising number of cold cases in the city have sent a wrong message.

“We demand that the local police would do their job,” said Goking.

Arturo Bonjoc Jr., NUJP chapter chairperson, said the local police should be made to account for the unsolved criminal cases.

“They must have a sense of urgency in resolving crimes and deter the perpetuation of the culture of impunity,” Bonjoc said.

The shooting of Licuanan validated the output of a “media risk mapping” done here in early October, said NUJP-Mindanao media safety officer JB Deveza.

He said the incident proved that journalists doing stories and commentaries on the illegal drug trade are at serious risk.

“In our media risk mapping, the local media practitioners identified the issue on illegal drug trade as one of the high-risk coverage issues,” he added. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)