NPC, AFIMA share P100,000 bounty to find radioman’s killers

THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (Afima) have pledged an additional P100,000 reward for anyone who could lead authorities to the killers of radioman, Niel “Lito” Jimena.

This places the bounty on Jimena’s killers to P600,000 after the Iloilo Press Club initially raised P500,000 to find the gunmen and the mastermind in the broadcater’s killing, the ninth since President Benigno Aquino III was sworn into office.

“Time and again we have been pressing the government to take a tougher stance against the killings of mediamen. The President must walk the talk. He talks fast and tough, indeed. But in reality, the investigations into these killings remain at a snail’s pace,” NPC President Jerry Yap, said.

“If the President is sincere in fighting corruption, he should consider journalists as his agents and allies. It is the corrupt and the inept who are mostly members of government who are usually behind these killings. Those who are inutile or remiss in their duty to protect us are as equally guilty as the suspects in journalist killings themselves,” Yap added.

The NPC president and Afima president Benny Antiporda both called on Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo to order a round-the-clock investigation by the police into the killing of Jimena and to immediately effect the arrest of the people behind it.

“Police probes into previous killings had been lackluster. Statistics they presented were usually aimed only at pleasing higher-ups. There has been no real and serious effort on the part of the bureaucracy to address this problem.

Journalists are still occasionally harassed, maimed or killed. Nine mediamen killed during the first year of his incumbency should compel President Aquino to give the problem some serious attention,” Antiporda, for his part, stressed.

The NPC and Afima, besides joining other media groups in mourning the death of a colleague, also bewailed the Aquino government’s utter lack of interest in passing a freedom of information law as embodied in the proposed FOI bills in Congress.

“There is no murder more gruesome than the one that kills the people’s right to information. Keeping secrets in government agencies is next to condoning corruption. Without an FOI law, President Aquino’s anti-corruption campaign is doomed and might even result in its exact opposite. Corruption does not involve only the past administration but most of those who remain in agencies and institutions that are being criticized by journalists like Lito Jimena,” Yap further stressed.

Jimena, host of political block-time programs in Iloilo, died from five gunshot wounds Monday after motorcycle-riding assailants repeatedly shot him in EB Magalona town in Negros Occidental. He was 42.

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