Stop Killing Journalists

By the Media for Peace

The journalistic profession is vital to the life of any nation.

It is the journalist’s job to tell the people what is happening in the country. By doing so, he or she guides the people in making decisions concerning the fate of the nation.

It follows thus that a free press is indispensable in the survival of any democracy.

But is there a free press to speak of when journalists live every moment of their lives in danger of death, for simply doing their jobs? Philippine history is replete with instances where journalists were murdered because there were those who did not want the truth to come out.

The recent spate of killings of Filipino journalists has made the Philippines as dangerous for journalists as Colombia. Six Filipino journalists have been killed in the Philippines in 2003 alone, a total of 13 under the Macapagal-Arroyo government which has oft claimed to have the highest respect for freedom of the press —a right enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and part of international human rights laws and principles.

Thus in less than three years, the Macapagal-Arroyo government has done a lot worse to journalists than both the Ramos and Estrada presidencies. In less than three years it has come dangerously close to approximating the number of media killings under the Aquino government.

Meanwhile, the names of Henry Romero and Alex Orcullo come to the minds of Filipino journalists whenever martial law is mentioned. They are but two of numerous journalists killed under the brutal hand of the Marcos dictatorship. But 17 years after Marcos’ ouster, media killings continue at levels as alarming as during the days of the dictatorship. No less than 49 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986.

Under present circumstances, it is an exercise in futility, if not inanity, to talk about freedom of the press. Press freedom in the Philippines is as dead as the corpses of Benjaline Hernandez and Edgar Damalerio, two of the most shocking cases of media killings under the Macapagal-Arroyo government.

They were right, those who said that press freedom belongs not only to the members of the press but also to the people. The press, by informing the people, greatly influences the decisions they make in the determination of their collective destiny. The existence of a truly free press, thus, is in the ultimate interest of the people.

We enjoin our colleagues in the media to collectively or individually act in protest against the killings of Filipino journalists. We urge the people to defend their right to a free and independent press.

September 10, 2003


Date of Death Name (News Organization)
1 1986-Apr-24 Pete F. Mabazza (Manila Bulletin)
2 1986-Apr-24 Wilfredo Vicoy (Reuters)
3 ? 1986 Atty. Florante “Boy” de Castro
4 1987-Apr-12 Dionisio Perpetuo Joaquin (Olongapo News)
5 1987-Aug-27 Narciso Balani (DXRA)
6 1987-Aug-27 Rogie Zagado (DXRA)
7 1987-Aug-27 Leo Palo (DXRA)
8 1987-Aug-28 Martin Castor (Pilipino Ngayon)
9 1987-Aug-28 Ramon Noblejas (DYVL/ Tacloban City)
10 1988-Mar-29 Noel Miranda (Mindanao Scanner)
11 1988-Aug-12 Ruben R. Manrique (Luzon Tribune/ Bataan)
12 1988-Oct-30 Josef Aldeguer Nava (Visayan Life Today/ Iloilo)
13 1989-Oct-17 Severino Arcones (DYFM-Radyo Bombo/ Iloilo)
14 1989-Dec-01 Eddie Telan (Newscaster/ Manila)
15 1990-May-15 Reynaldo Catindig, Sr. (Northern Sierra Madre Express/ Isabela)
16 1990-Jul-08 Jean Ladringan (Southern Star/ General Santos City)
17 1991-Apr-14 Nesino Paulin Toling (Panguil Bay Monitor/ Ozamiz)
18 1992-Jul-01 Danilo Vergara (Philippine Post)
19 1992-July-03 Ladjid Ladja (Prensa Zamboanga)
20 1992-Sep-21 Rev. Greg Hapalla (DXAS/Zamboanga)
21 1992-Dec-30 Gloria Martin (DXXX/ Isabela Basilan)
22 1993-Jan-11 Romeo Andrada Legaspi (Voice of Zambales)
23 1993-Nov-22 Rosauro Lao (Cotabato News)
24 1993-Nov-22 Ding Sade (Cotabato News)
25 1996-Feb-12 Atty. Ferdinand Reyes (Press Freedom/ Dipolog City)
26 1996-Dec-15 Alberto Berbon (DZMM)
27 1997-Jun-03 Daniel J. Hernandez (People’s Journal Tonight)
28 1997-Dec-17 Regalado Mabazza (Polaris cable network)
29 ? 1998 Odilon Mallari (DXCP)
30 1998-Mar-29 Rey Bancairin (DXLL)
31 1998-Apr-16 Nelson Catipay (DXMY Radio)
32 1998-Oct-30 Dominador “Dom” Bentulan (DXGS)
33 1999-Apr-25 Frank Palma (Bombo Radyo)
34 2000-May-23 Vincent Rodriguez (DZMM)
35 2000-Nov-17 Olimpio Jalapit (DXPR)
36 2001-Jan-03 Rolando Ureta (DYKR)
37 2001-Feb-24 Muhammad Yusop (DXID)
38 2001-May-30 Candelario “Jhun” Cayona (DXLL)
39 2001-May-31 Joy Mortel (Mindoro Guardian)
40 2001-Aug-31 Noel Esin (dxBC Radio)
41 2002-Apr-05 Benjaline “Beng” Hernandez (CEGP)
42 2002-May-13 Edgar Damalerio (DXKP, Zamboanga Scribe, Mindanao Gold Star)
43 2002-Aug-22 Rhode Sonny Esguerra Alcantara (Kokus, Celestron Cable TV)
44 2003-Apr-28 John Belen Villanueva, Jr. (DZGB)
45 2003-May-17 Apolinario “Polly” Pobeda (DWTI)
46 2003-July-8 Bonifacio Gregorio (Dyaryo Banat)
47 2003-August 19 Noel Villarante (The Laguna Score/DZJV)
48 2003-August-20 Rico Ramirez (DXSF)
49 2003-Sept.-6 Juan “Jun” Pala (DXGO)
TOTAL: GMA-13; Estrada-5; Ramos- 14; Aquino-17
FIRST TWO AND A HALF YEARS IN POWER: GMA- 13; Estrada-5; Ramos-7; Aquino-12

10 thoughts on “Stop Killing Journalists

  1. I regret that it had to be almost a year before I could read this reply.

    Please visit and; websites like these are JOURNALISTS’ way of dealing with “journalists.” Aside from those we also take issue with them in our own publications.

    We define press freedom as the right of the press to uncover the truth and present ways of transforming it.

    Taking advantage of media’s power to say whatever one wants to say–without regard for those who will be misled by this–that is licentiousness, that is condemnable but we hope the existence of licentious “journalists” is not being used as an argument against freedom of the press in general–which is being violated by media killings.

  2. **”Journalists” who kill the truth are just a few steps away from people who kill journalists for uncovering the truth.**

    That is a great way of putting it.

    So what are the legit journalists doing about people like them?

  3. I write for ( Being a journalist myself–one who takes pride in being in the so-called alternative media, allow me to briefly answer your question.

    “Journalists” who kill the truth are just a few steps away from people who kill journalists for uncovering the truth.

    Re your comment on the Philippine Collegian, I heartily agree. The Philippine Collegian, among the print media, best exemplifies the exercise of press freedom.

  4. What do legitimate journalists have to say about pseudo-journalists who are killing the truth? What do you people call the likes of Korina Sanchez and this Tulfo guy on ABS-CBN? Is what they do journalism?

    While i totally agree that a free press is indispensable to a democratic society, where does one draw the line between press freedom and licentiousness?

    I know you are an ex-Collegian guy and I have a lot of respect for Collegian people. Not only because I am also from UP but because the Collegian represents a brand of journalism that is sorely needed by benighted people.

    It would be good to read about that from real journalists.

  5. If we can’t stop the killings completely, compelling those involved in this morass to lay back, through statements such as that by Media for Peace, would already be an achievement.

  6. Re “Stop killing people”:

    Making the statement against media killings is a step towards stopping them. If we don’t make such a statement, there would undoubtedly be more killings.

    Marcos was trekking the fascist road as early as 1966. He would have declared martial law earlier if not for the broad protests against fascism. His wife and children would have simply inherited Malaca?ang if not for the wide anti-dictatorship resistance, both armed and unarmed, which continuously fought it out with his government’s forces and eventually ousted him and his family in 1986.

    As early as October 2002 Bush was all excited about attacking Iraq. If no one stood up against the war in Iraq, it would have started earlier and more innocent Iraqis would have been killed.

    Now the Bush government is hesitant about mounting the next attacks.

    Continued vigilance pays.

  7. small but terrible talaga si GMA! highest score! (di pa kasama dyan yung mga bayan muna members and supporters na pinaslang mula ng malunod sa poder si ate glo)

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