This week has been a horribly costly one for the Philippine media, with three journalists murdered, one of them in front of his horrified wife and family.
The killing of Richard Kho and Bonifacio Loreto Jr., columnists of the defunct “Aksyon Ngayon,” shot dead Tuesday night (July 30) in front of Loreto’s home in Quezon City; and that of freelance photojournalist Mario Sy, gunned down right inside his house in General Santos City Thursday night (August 1), should shatter any illusions still left about President Benigno Aquino III’s “tuwid na daan”, unless we are indeed on a straight path to death.
In quick succession, the three became the 16th, 17th and 18th media practitioners murdered under Aquino’s watch and the 156th, 157th and 158th since our supposed return to democracy in 1986.
While others may have given the orders and pulled the triggers that snuffed out their lives, Aquino cannot and should not escape accountability for the deaths of our three colleagues and all those who died before them since 2010.
The continued inaction of this government towards ending media killings and, indeed, the continued murders of activists, indigenous people, farmers, lawyers, religious and others from many sectors and walks of life simply for exercising their right to free expression is proof enough of how much priority it has given towards defending and promoting human rights – nil – and constitutes tacit approval of the bloodshed.
Yes, Mr. Aquino, their blood is on your hands and we will not stop reminding you of this.