THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to enlighten the public about the true circumstances surrounding the 2003 murder of Davao City broadcaster Juan “Jun” Pala who was ambushed while on his way home.
Although it happened more than a decade ago, the case has not yet been solved, adding to the piling statistics of unsolved murders of journalists which, in total, contributes to nurturing a culture of impunity in the country.
Pala’s murder is again thrust into the public’s renewed attention Thursday with the testimony in the Senate of a witness who claims to be a former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, Edgar Matobato.
Matobato claimed that based on what he knew, Mr. Duterte, who was then Davao City mayor, ordered Pala killed for always criticizing him over the radio. This gives a new twist to what the public know about the incident.
The last time he spoke about the murder of Pala, then president-elect Duterte said the controversial broadcaster had his death coming by hurting so many people through his bombastic radio commentaries.
At that time, Mr. Duterte hinted that he knew who could be the likely perpetrator of the attack on Pala whom he described as an unethical and corrupt broadcast practitioner.
Closure of the Pala murder case, or any other case of journalist killing, will send a strong signal of the seriousness of the Duterte government to address this black mark in the Philippines’ image as a democratic society.
Hence, we ask President Duterte to set the record straight about what he knew of the Pala murder, for the sake of justice. –Dabet Panelo
Secretary General, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)