August 23, 2011
Statement of National Press Club President Jerry S. Yap
‘Matuwid Na Daan’ not enough;
there must be ‘Matigas Na Daan’
Until the number has risen to become “UNLUCKY NINE,” it has become clear that “Matuwid Na Daan” of President P-Noy is not enough. There must also be “Matigas Na Daan.”
With the sad reality that there are unwanted “check points” along “Matuwid Na Daan,” the most the National Press Club of the Philippines can do now is to mourn for the death of another journalist, this time in Bacolod City.
Niel Aranga is the ninth in the list of journalists killed since Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III took oath on July 1, 2010 as the President of the Philippines.
The bullets that ended the life of Jimena proved not of the incompetence of the administration of P-Noy to stop senseless acts of killing journalists. Rather, it is more of a proof of lack of respect and insult to him by the local warlords, gambling lords, drug lords, and lords of other evils.
There is no respect and there is insult for every bullet fired against every one among press freedom practitioners, who now play as the true lifeblood of the public thirst for good governance.
Despite the blood of the ninth journalist that watered our land, the Task Force Usig appears force-less and faceless. As if, it is doing nothing. There is no development at all in all other cases of brutality committed against journalists.
Thus, the NPC is appealing to the President and the lawmakers to pass the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI Bill) without any “Information Commission” that will only act as the censor whether the requested public documents were to be released or not.
The NPC strongly believes that the FOI Bill can help not only to promote transparency in the government but also strengthen the crusade to lessen if not end the crimes against the public, against the journalists.
A radio block-timer from La Paz, Iloilo, Jimena was gunned down late Monday afternoon by one of the two men on board a motorcycle in EB Magalona town, about 24 km from Bacolod City.
Jimena, 42, moved to Hacienda Teresa, Barangay Alicante in EB Magalona after becoming a block-timer for the defunct dyRP in Iloilo and dyAG in Cadiz City in Negros Occidental.
He was set to start on August 23, 2011 another block-time program at dyRI of Radio Mindanao Network in Iloilo City.
The police said Jimena was heading north to Bacolod on board his motorcycle about 5:30 p.m. when two men on board another motorcycle chased and fired at him in Hacienda San Jose, Barangay Damgo, EB Magalona.
The chase continued until Jimena’s vehicle fell on its side in Barangay 3 Poblacion, said Cobing.
Jimena suffered five gunshot wounds in the back from a .45-caliber pistol. He was brought to the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City where physicians declared him dead on arrival.
The eight other journalists murdered under the administration of P-Noy are as follows:
1. July 3, 2010 -- 75-year-old radio commentator and community journalist Jose Daguio was shot dead at 8 p.m. while having a dinner inside his house in Barangay Tuga, Tabuk, Kalinga. The police claimed he was killed by known cattle rustlers.
2. July 9, 2010 -- Miguel Belen, field reporter of DWEB FM station in Nabua, Camarines Sur, was shot at along Zone 3, Barangay San Jose Pagaraon, Nabua at 8:30 p.m.
3. August 1, 2010 – Edilberto Cruz, publisher of Salida tabloid in Nueva Ecija, was shot in the evening while driving a motorcycle along Maharlika Highway in Barangay San Juan Accfa, Cabanatuan City
4. December 10, 2010 – Edison Flameniana Sr., columnist of Mindanao Inquirer was shot dead on December 10, 2010 in Tabudok, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur
5. January 24, 2011 -- Dr. Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega was shot dead while inside an Ukay-Ukay Store in Puerto Princesa, after coming from his radio program
6. February 1, 2011 – Cirilo Gallardo, 38, a broadcaster of DWWW Spirit 96.9 FM and a teacher of the Divine Word College, a resident of Barangay Velasco, Tayum, Abra, was found dead with 13 stab wounds inside his room at the transmitter site of the radio station in Barangay Bangbangar, Bangued, Abra.
7. March 24, 2011 – Len Flores Somera was shot dead on the nape in Maysilo, Malabon City while she was waiting for a ride to her radio program over DZME.
8. June 13, 2011 – Romeo Olea, reporter-announcer of DWEB-FM based on Nabua town, who is also a writer-reporter of Bicol Mail, a regional newspaper, was shot at 5:30 p.m. while driving his motorcycle. The incident occurred in front of Holy Child Learning Center at the Iriga-Nabua boundary while on his way to report to work. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the stomach of a 9-mm gun.
9. August 22, 2011 – Niel Aranga Jimena was shot dead at 5:30 p.m. by two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle while the victim was driving his own motorcycle in EB Magalona in the direction of Bacolod City. A native of La Paz, Iloilo City who moved to Hacienda Teresa in EB Magalona town was an anchorman at the defunct dyRP in Iloilo and dyAG in Cadiz City. Moments before his death, Jimena was preparing to broadcast as a block-timer at dyRI of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), according to his friend Larry Trinidad, a reporter of dyHB of RMN in Bacolod. Police said that a brief chase occurred first before the anchorman’s motorcycle fell on its side in Barangay 3, Poblacion in EB Magalona. The police added that the victim appeared to be calling for help when he was finally gunned down.