Zamboanga press calls for End of Impunity PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 November 2012 09:38

n. without punishment, without consequences

The world of crime is unlike before. It used to be that the press people as well as children, women, religious and medical people especially Red Cross were respected and “untouchables” in times of war. But now even in times of peace, no one is spare.  Anyone can be a victim of crime.

Worse, justice is denied, delayed or hard to obtain because the slow action of the courts handling these cases, no one wants to witness, perpetrators themselves are hiding in the “name of justice” especially corrupt government officials, and these criminals are scot free with impunity.

But last November 23, the officers and members of the local media circle campaigned enough is enough with a peaceful rally at Paseo del Mar. Organized by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Zamboanga City Chapter in coordination with the Zamboanga Press Club ZPC) and participated by 9 schools, we called for justice for the victims of the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre and demonstrated a support to the worldwide campaign of the International Campaign to End Impunity.  After meaningful messages were delivered by key media leaders, sky lanterns were symbolically flew in the pitch night sky to call for a “light in this dark age of crime and impunity.”

November 23, 2009 was the most horrible day in the media history. This is the 3rd year, where 58 people including 32 media, were murdered and buried hazily in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, and still despite the media attention it has created worldwide, the alleged culprits have not been prosecuted fully.

People today especially witnesses, not only in the media world, are harassed, threatened, tortured, intimidated, kidnapped, and killed in an attempt to extort or silence them.  What is dreadful, most crimes against free expression go unpunished.

Because of this, most of us are afraid to speak out when we see a crime. We have to ponder many times as we also fear for the lives of our loved ones. It has resulted to an atmosphere of impunity for the criminals. Regretfully, we tend to become immune to crimes and have this dismay attitude we don’t care until the day it happens to us.

I agreed when fearless Davao Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte recently offered a 5 million money reward to the one who can bring to him suspected carnapping syndicate leader Ryan Yu’s head on ice. Whether he is joking or someone will bite this offer, it sent a chilling message don’t mess up in Davao City. A top local police officer agreed with Duterte’s Dirty Harry style. In 2010, Vice Duterte was among the top 5 surveyed most trusted politicians of our country by Reader’s Digest.

But I don’t agree with the tag line, “still counting,” of a local university that posted our city’s crime rate for everyone to see.  Does it expect more crime to happen?

For whatever reason/s this school does not want to remove this bill board crime rate yet, if I may suggest to this school authority, to change its tag line to “stop killing,” “don’t be afraid, report a crime,” or better still “help solve a crime”. Since this school is offering a criminology course, why don’t they coordinate with other schools, offering the same course, to come out with a concrete solution on how to prevent and stop crimes from happening.

By Dante Corteza