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.
JOINT STATEMENT OF GENERAL SANTOS CITY MEDIA
We, members of the press in General Santos City, condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and defenseless assassination of colleague Christopher Guarin who was murdered in the presence of his wife and daughter Thursday evening.
We are alarmed and appalled over the brazenness of the attack that further reinforced the prevailing culture of impunity.
We urged police authorities to immediately pursue, apprehend and prosecute the assailants and identify the masterminds behind the killing.
We want police authorities to extend their investigation to cover all the other killings in the city.
We are saddened by the growing reputation of General Santos City as the most dangerous place for journalist in the country today with over 20 members of the press already killed since 1986, including 14 who perished in the Ampatuan massacre.
We do not want to believe there is an ongoing campaign to eliminate us from our profession but until these heinous crimes are solved, we cannot help but be outraged.
Let the killings stop.
Stop killing journalists.
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALIST IN THE PHILIPPINES – Socgen Chapter
KAPISANAN NG MGA BRODKASTER SA PILIPINAS – Sargen Chapter
PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION OF GENERAL SANTOS CITY
TRI-MEDIA ASSOCIATION OF GENERAL SANTOS AND CENTRAL MINDANAO
SOCSKSARGEN PRESS CLUB