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Dangerous statements from Palace, PNP chief

12:34 AM July 16, 2016

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines views as a positive step the creation of a task force to look into media killings, a move announced by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. This certainly bodes well for our search for justice in behalf of the scores of our colleagues who were killed with impunity these past decades.

But will this move finally bring an end to media killings?

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Unfortunately, the indications are it will not, if government continues to hurl blanket accusations on members of the media, like the latest statements of Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa and presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on the alleged links of some media workers to illegal drugs.

De la Rosa was reported as saying in a television interview that some media personnel are either users, dealers or protectors of drug lords. Asked about this, Abella, instead of displaying prudence, backed up De la Rosa’s statement, saying this was “probably” based on “intelligence reports.”

In both instances, no proof was presented and the statements were sweeping enough as to cast a pall of suspicion on a whole profession, in the same way the wholesale accusation of corruption tainted both the guilty and the upright. Nor, as far as we know, have any charges been filed in court.

We are afraid that just as the insinuation that corruption is justification enough to commit murder, these sweeping accusations about media workers on drugs—though doubtless there indeed may be such rogues, just as in any sector of society—could be used as a handy justification by those who seek to silence independent and critical journalists.

We, therefore, challenge Director General De la Rosa and Secretary Abella: If there is truly evidence against any media worker who is involved in crime or protecting syndicates of any kind, file the appropriate charges in court and let justice take its course, lest those, whose only crime is to search for the truth and to serve the people’s right to know, end up “silenced” with no way to refute trumped-up charges scrawled on cardboard placards.

—RYAN D. ROSAURO, chair, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, [email protected]

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TAGS: drugs, Ernesto Abella, Media killings, Ronald de la Rosa
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