Senator Francis Escudero denounced the killing of a radio anchor in Ozamiz City and the strafing of the coffee shop owned by ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna by still unidentified gunmen, as he called on authorities to go after the perpetrators of these latest violence against media workers.
“These latest attacks against media workers, in no uncertain terms, must be condemned. The government must do something to end the culture of impunity over crimes against the media,” Escudero said.
Last Thursday, the 48-year-old Cosme Diez Maestrado, anchor of a local radio station affiliated with Radio Mindanao Network, was reportedly shot 10 times by still unidentified men at around 10 a.m. in front of a shopping center in Ozamiz City, Misamis Oriental. While Taberna’s newly opened coffee shop in Quezon City was strafed by armed men at around 2 a.m. on Friday.
Both Maestrado and Taberna are known for their fearless and hard-hitting commentaries.
Escudero said authorities should exhaust all means to put a stop to the crime against media personnel, who are only doing their job.
“Media workers, like Cosme and Tunying, helped in our fight against corruption and other anomalies in government and the society. The government should exhaust all means to find the perpetrators and have them prosecuted,” Escudero said.
The lawmaker lamented that authorities had not delivered significant results in solving cases of media killings and violence.
He said further media killings and violence would have been prevented had previous cases been solved and those responsible punished.
“Law enforcers and state prosecutors send a message to criminals that the culture of impunity continues by failing to address previous attacks on media workers. Such thing can only motivate these offenders,” Escudero said.
According to reports, Maestrado could be the 29th media worker killed under the Aquino administration.
“The administration needs to do more to protect media workers and ensure a free press,” Escudero pointed out.
On August 18, Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club president Gregorio “Loloy” Ybañez was also gunned down while on his way home in Tagum City.
Two days later, on August 20, 59-year-old Teodoro Escanilla, broadcaster at local radio station dzMS, was shot dead by two unidentified assailants inside his residence in Sorsogon.
In 2013, the London-based International News Safety Institute named the Philippines as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists.
A total 14 journalists died in the Philippines that year, placing the country behind Syria—also the deadliest country for media workers in 2012—and Iraq.
The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said that as of June 2014, a total of 145 media workers were killed in the line of duty in the country since 1986, including at least 33 in the Ampatuan massacre of November 2009./chizescudero.com; FB senchizescudero; Twitter @saychiz @chiznewsalert