February 22, 2017
NUJP calls for probe on Pala’s death
The recent revelation of SPO3 Arthur Lascanas that the murder of Davao broadcaster Jun Pala was allegedly ordered by now President Rodrigo Duterte deserves serious investigation. Lascanas’ statement echoes what self-declared “Davao Death Squad” member Edgar Matobato earlier bared.
We are aware of the strong emotions Pala invoke and that there are those who feel grief is wasted on him and any honest attempt to probe his killing would be an exercise in futility. However, to succumb to this thinking is to succumb to the same exact mindset that continues to drive extrajudicial killings in this country, whether of journalist or activist, farmer or priest, lumad or judge – those seen as threats to the status quo – or the 8,000 or so “subhumans” and the “collateral damage” lost to the war on drugs. If Duterte did order Pala’s murder, then he should be tried and convicted for it, no ands, ifs or buts. But whether he ordered the hit or not, what matters is that there are now two potential witnesses whose accounts may finally lay bare the truth behind Pala’s death and, at the very least, help temper the culture of impunity that continues to wreak havoc on countless lives, due process and the rule of law. Whatever his sins may have been, Pala, just like all the other journalists murdered in this country since 1986, was deprived of his life without due process. To justify Pala’s death is to justify the death of all journalists killed.
Ryan Rosauro, Chairperson
NUJP Hotline 09175155991