EDITORIAL - Solve the murders

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Solve the murders

Another day, another journalist slain. Last Wednesday morning in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, Jaynard Angeles was having his vehicle checked in a repair shop when two men pulled up on a motorcycle and shot him in the head, killing him.

Angeles was a commentator for Radio ni Juan radio station and was running for councilor in Lambayong town. He was gunned down less than a week after the official start of the election period for the 2022 polls. His death came on the heels of the murder in Samar last month of Pampanga-based journalist Jesus Malabanan, a Manila Standard correspondent.

Probers said initial investigation indicated that Malabanan’s murder was linked to a land dispute instead of his work as a journalist. Angeles’ killing might be linked to his bid for an elective post. Whether or not their murders were related to their work as journalists, however, the only way to find out the truth is to bring the killers to justice.

Over 20 media workers have been murdered since the start of the Duterte administration. In the latest World Press Freedom Index drawn up by Reporters Without Borders, the country fell two places, to 138th among 180 countries. The country has also been ranked among the most dangerous and “murderous” in the world for journalists.

In the 2021 Global Impunity Index drawn up by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, the Philippines ranked seventh among the worst countries for unsolved killings of media workers.

Even if the latest deadly attacks are established to be unrelated to media work, the country will also rank among the worst in terms of election-related violence. In every electoral exercise in this country, murder has become the ultimate tool for eliminating election rivals, because too many perpetrators – whether triggerman or mastermind – get away with the crime. The bereaved relatives and friends of Jaynard Angeles can only hope that this will not be the case in his death.

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