by John Rizle Saligumba
Tagum City – – As Mayor Allan Rellon was addressing a group of journalists during an indignation rally for the recent killing of radio journalist Rogelio “Tata” Butalid, not too far away in a public market, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot a store worker at 9:45 this morning.
The incident captured what journalists and advocates have been assailing about: the culture of impunity in the country where perpetrators of “senseless” and unabated murders of ordinary folks, including journalists, remain scot-free.
Jacky Lee Pacheco, 30, was shot by a lone gun man according to his brother, Ramon, who said they were sitting at the buy-and-sell store’s entrance with his brother’s boss when a man wearing a helmet entered the store and fired two shots at them.
“One shot hit my brother in the stomach while the other one missed. The next three shots missed us as we were able to drop to the ground,” he said.
The incident occurred while some 50 media practitioners led by the Davao del Norte Press Club, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines and Bugkos Media Action Group and other groups, held a demonstration along the national highway of Tagum City.
“Our call is symbolic: the killing of journalists is the killing of democracy. But, this will be for naught if we also do not also work for justice in our society, “said Cesar Cuntapay of the Taxpayers Against Crime organization based in Tagum City.
Butalid was laid to rest morning of December 20 at the La Filipina cemetery in Tagum City. Teresita, Butalid’s wife called on the perpetrators to voluntary bring themselves to justice.
Mayor Rellon, who attended the demonstration, assailed the killing of Butalid who was his college school mate and friend.
Butalid, a block-time commentator for Radyo Natin Tagum, was shot to death by an unidentified gunman outside the radio station at Sobrecary Street last December 11.
“This was an act of cowardice of those who want to silence journalists who are just telling the truth,” Rellon said.
Rellon, in his speech, also assured the public of lifting the police’s “low” morale by securing the means to “boost” their mobility.
He also pledged to increase the bounty for the capture of the perpetrators to PhP 500,000.
Meanwhile, Pacheco said they suspect that their boss was the target but also said that they do not know of any enemies their boss might have.
The police investigator who responded to the incident said they recovered five slugs of a .45 caliber pistol.
The victim was immediately brought to a hospital in the city. (davaotoday.com)extrajudicial killings, impunity, journalists killinga, media killings, Tata Butalid, world's dangerous place for journalists