Thru a statement made online, the family of slain Palawan environmentalist and journalist Dr. Gerry Ortega slammed incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent comment on media killings in the country. Similarly, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) expressed their disappointment over the president-elect’s statement.
“Our family is incensed by the hasty and crass generalizations made about murdered journalists in the country. Doc Gerry Ortega was killed for his courage and integrity. He was murdered precisely because he was honorable,” said the slain journalist’s eldest daughter, Michaella Ortega, in her official Facebook account. Michaella’s father, Doc Gerry, was murdered on January 24, 2011.
“He fought for social justice. He stood up against mining in Palawan. He exposed corruption in the provincial government, which included the misuse of billions of pesos from the Malampaya funds. This kind of speech is alarming because without due process, it casts absolute judgment on all murdered journalists including those who were killed for telling the truth,” Michaella further said in her post.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) issued a statement on May 31 regarding the incoming President’s comment.
“It is appalling that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should justify the murder of journalists in the country by playing the corruption card. Mr. Duterte’s crass pronouncement not only sullies the names and memories of all 176 of our colleagues who have been murdered since 1986, he has also, in effect, declared open season to silence the media, both individual journalists and the institution, on the mere perception of corruption,” NUJP stated.
NUJP underscored that “Murder is no joke. Neither is press freedom.”
“Be that as it may, the independent Philippine media will not be cowed from fulfilling its duty to act as the people’s watchdog,” NUJP ended the statement.
Duterte said in his press conference in Davao City last Tuesday that most journalists killed are corrupt. “Just because you’re a journalist doesn’t mean you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a b****,” he said.