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                                                                                                  Refer to: Ms. Dale Zapata


24 May 2006

Arming media men is not and will never be the answer to the spate of killings of journalists.

This was the reiteration of Vice President Noli "Kabayan" de Castro of his position on the proposal to arm press people to protect them from would-be assassins.  In fact, implementing a measure to arm media people may be seen as an indictment of the failure of our law enforcement authorities to maintain peace and order.

With the recent wave of slayings of media men, notably that of photojournalist Albert Orsalino in Malabon and broadcaster Fernando Batul in Palawan, Vice President De Castro, who has been a broadcaster himself for more than twenty years, instead strongly urged for the strengthening of the five pillars of the justice system to finally put a stop of these senseless killings.

With the renewed, invigorated and effective collaboration of law enforcement agencies including the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the national prosecution service under the Department of Justice, the courts including the Supreme Court and the lower courts, the correctional and penal institutions including the Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Pardons and Parole, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the community including the Department of Local Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and various non-governmental institutions, Vice President De Castro is optimistic that perpetrators of the unsolved cases of slay of media men would be brought to justice and punished with full extent of the law and deter occurrences of the same in the future.

Sa harap ng mga pagpatay na nangyayari nitong mga nakaraang araw, malaki ang magagawa ng lalo pang pagpapatibay ng pagtutulungan ng tinatawag na five pillars of the criminal justice system – ang law enforcers, ang prosecution, ang mga korte, ang penal system at maging ang mga mamamayan mismo.

The Vice President also contended that arming media men would only exacerbate the situation where abuse of the use of firearms is not farfetched especially by the so-called “hao siao” journalists.

He made exceptions, though, of legitimate journalists who are qualified to own and carry firearms in accordance with the guidelines of the proper authorities.  Like any other private citizen, journalists who wish to avail of the privilege to own and carry firearms must undergo the strict process laid out by law.

Of course we would not be contented with mere investigation of these killings.  We want results and would see to it that those found guilty would be made to answer for their misdeeds!  Gusto nating makita na mahuli at nasa likod ng rehas ang mga gumawa ng pagpatay sa mga tagapagtaguyod ng katotohanan ng malayang pamamahayag.

He also urged his colleagues in the media profession not to lose faith in the authorities and continue with their crusade for truth and to continue to work for aims of their profession even if they are now faced with trials, persecution and threats on their lives.                                                                                             HOME | back-to-top

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