The murder of broadcaster Romeo Olea of dwEB-FM in Camarines Sur province early Monday morning again proves what we have said again and again – that the impunity with which journalists are attacked and murdered will never be brought to an end unless government unequivocally commits itself and acts resolutely to defend the rights and liberties of each and every Filipino.
Olea, of dwEB-FM, was riding his motorcycle on his way to work when he was shot in the back by what police say were three gunmen in front of the Holy Child Learning Center at the boundary of Iriga City and Nabua town around 5:30 a.m.
Rushed by concerned bystanders to the Rinconada Medical Center, Olea was declared dead 25 minutes later.
He was the fourth journalist murdered this year and the fifth since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office promising to protect human rights and bring good governance. He was the 145th journalist murdered since 1986.
Olea is also the second broadcaster of dwEB-FM to be killed in less than a year. His colleague Miguel Belen was also shot dead in July last year.
Police have yet to establish a motive for Olea’s murder and say there was no record of any threat against the broadcaster before the incident.
Nevertheless, the killing of Olea follows a pattern that has become all too familiar, especially in the provinces where warlords and crime lords who have bought, coerced and killed their way into public office continue to rule their turfs like their personal kingdoms, wielding virtual powers of life and death for their subjects and not hesitating to unleash deadly force on those they disagree with or perceive as threats to their hold on power.
Alas, it seems that, for all its pledges, this administration remains unable, or unwilling, to dismantle the system of governance that continues to rely on, and therefore turn a blind eye to the excesses of, these petty tyrants masquerading as elective officials.
We have said this before and we say this again – ensuring justice for media killings, as well as all violations of human rights, are a matter of state accountability. The continued failure of this administration to solve these cases, even as the bodies of the fallen continue to pile up, place the victims’ blood on Mr. Aquino’s hands.