Insult to all massacre victims
President Aquino’s reply to an American reporter, during his joint press conference with US President Barack Obama, clearly illustrated how much our illustrious leader really cares about media murders and extrajudicial killings in general—zilch.
It is appalling how the chief executive can get the numbers wrong on what the whole world acknowledges as the single deadliest attack on media ever, the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.
During the joint press conference, Mr. Aquino was asked about why, under his watch, 26 journalists have been murdered and why only suspects in six cases have been arrested.
His reply: “Now, as far as journalists are concerned, perhaps the track record speaks for itself. The Maguindanao massacre involved something like 52 journalists, and there are presently something like over 100 people who have been indicted for this crime and are undergoing trial.”
Even if, at the onset, he did admit that, “I don’t have the figures right here before me,” it boggles the mind how he, as the leader of this country, can fudge the figures so badly on one of the most heinous crimes in Philippine history.
And to add insult to injury, he even flippantly tries to explain away the lack of progress in solving media killings by claiming that the reason “we do not reveal the discoveries by our intelligence agencies and security services, perhaps we are very sensitive to personal relationships by the people who are deceased, who were killed not because of professional activities, but, shall we say, other issues.”
After repeated demands for justice from the victims’ families and colleagues have been met with nothing but silence, he finally—and very publicly—insinuates that those who fell were killed because they
possessed less than savory credentials.
While it may be true that there are those in our ranks targeted for reasons other than the work they do, such a wholesale aspersion cast on all the victims practically amounts to an attempt to justify their murders. Really, Mr. Aquino, if corruption or any other sin of moral turpitude justified murder, wouldn’t the graft-ridden halls of government be the first to undergo a purging?
Thank you anyway, Mr. Aquino, for once again enlightening us on your true nature and the timely reminder not to bother you again for more lies and unfulfilled promises.
We maintain that as president of the republic, your past, and now this recent diplomatic faux pas, reflect on the kind of leadership you have shown—extremely wanting and full of empty sound bites.
—ROWENA C. PARAAN, chair,
National Union of Journalists
of the Philippines
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