Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who is the mastermind?

Arrest of suspect fails to ease doubts on Batul murder

PRESSURE IS MOUNTING on law enforcers to identify the brains behind the brutal killing of radio journalist Fernando “Dong” Batul last week, with the first suspect they arrested denying any involvement in the crime.
Murder charges were filed against Police Officer Aaron Golifardo last May 25 after four eyewitnesses identified him as one of two gunmen who shot Batul at close range, killing him instantly, according to Col. Elpidio de Asis, Provincial Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Palawan and head of Task Force Batul.
The case was assigned to the Regional Trial Court Branch 51 under Judge Chito Meregillano.
Two other suspects, another gunman and a lookout, are still at large.
A member of the 413rd Regional Mobile Group assigned with the Philippine National Police – Palawan, Golifardo was arrested in Manila and flown back to Puerto Princesa three days after Batul was killed.
“Wala akong alam sa pangyayaring iyan. Wala akong alam diyan,” he asserted in a brief ambush interview with DYPR upon his arrival, in handcuffs, at the city airport.
Widely known as the most popular broadcaster in Palawan, Batul was on his way to his morning radio program “Bastonero” on DYPR when he was ambushed and gunned down just a hundred meters from the station last May 22.
National Bureau of Investigation-Palawan director Atty. Onos Mangotara said all the four witnesses, who were at the scene of the crime, positively identified Golifardo as one of the gunmen during the inquest at the City Prosecutor’s Office on May 25. One of the witnesses knew Golifardo personally, he added.
However, Golifardo’s family maintained that he was at home preparing for his flight to Manila at the time of the incident. One of his neighbors also told DYPR the suspect had gone to the latter’s house to have his mobile phone charged, as he had a travel order from May 22 to 28 to go to the national police headquarters on official business.
Golifardo was supposed to be presented at a news conference shortly after his arrival, but only members of the Task Force appeared before the media. In response to doubts about the gunman’s identity, PNP Directorate chief Isidro Lapeña said: “There is no fall guy in the case.” He added that the Task Force would continue the investigation.
During the inquest, Golifardo was allowed to speak with the media briefly, and he reiterated his innocence. He tearfully expressed his condolences to Batul’s family, and firmly denied any involvement in the crime.
Letty Batul-Cabusao, the victim’s older sister, said they welcomed the arrest but expressed hope that the brains behind the killing would also be identified.
“Sana hindi dito magtapos. Sana ang hustisya ay makamit ng aking kapatid,” she said.
Batul had criticized Golifardo in his program on May 11, about two weeks before the killing, after a bar owner complained that the policeman poked a gun at one of her waitresses when the latter refused to be kissed.
Edwin Gastanes, a legal counsel for the Batul family, said the arrest was a “positive development” and the statement from the Task Force that the investigation would continue gave them hope that the case would be resolved.
Former mayor Dennis Socrates, the running mate of Batul when the latter was elected vice mayor in 2001, said the possible motive of the suspect and other accomplices in the crime would need to be identified. The investigation “should go beyond personal scuffle,” he added.
Batul had incurred the ire of many government officials, rival broadcasters, and military officers due to his fearless discussion of anomalies and human rights abuses in his radio program.
Last April 24, less than a month before he was killed, two grenades were hurled into his family’s residence in Barangay San Manuel but these failed to explode and were safely detonated. In a note written in red ink, the attackers warned Batul of dire consequences if he did not stop talking about controversial issues in his program.
Just before that incident, Batul had tackled the complaints of migrant workers from Palawan who had paid P50,000 each to secure contracts for Taiwan through the public employment service office (PESO) of the city government. They had ended up in menial jobs instead of the employment specified in their contracts, and the agency said they did not collect any placement fee for the workers.
Assault on the “Masa”
Widespread condemnation of Batul’s assassination poured in from various sectors in Palawan and the national media.
“We call on the proper authorities to solve as soon as possible this heinous crime and give justice to the aggrieved parties,” said Bishop Pedro Arigo, the Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Princesa.
“Observing the pattern and the growing number of victims, there seems to be a grand sinister devilish plot to silence media men made of stuff like Dong’s and to scare others from exposing the truth and fighting corruption. And we wonder: when will the killings stop?” Bishop Arigo said.
“It was an assault on all peace loving Palaweños, specially on the ‘masa’ Dong was helping during his radio programs. The common folk made recourse to his program to air their grievances and concerns,” the prelate noted.
Batul would have turned 37 last May 24, but instead of a birthday celebration, his friends and family could only reminisce about his crusade as a journalist and experience as a former vice mayor of Puerto Princesa.
“Birthday mo ngayon, hindi ako masaya,” said his mother Condrada Batul, a former store owner in the public market. She had often warned her youngest son to tone down his hard-hitting comments on radio, but she said: “Ayaw niyang makinig sa akin.”
Gerry Ortega, his mentor at the Crocodile Farming Institute where Batul was an information officer, agreed that he had a stubborn streak and was fiercely independent.
“Walang may hawak ng utak ni Dong,” Ortega said. “He told me face to face six months ago that he has already conquered the fear of death.”
Jimmy Cañete, a close-in bodyguard of Batul when he was vice mayor, said that unlike most politicians, the latter had refused to carry firearms in his car.
“Daliri lang ang dala namin. Wala kaming mga armas. Sabi ko, ako ba kasama sa magpapakamatay? Sinabi niya sa akin na ang armas natin, ang Diyos na tumitingin sa atin,” he said during a Luksang Parangal on Batul’s birthday, two days after the killing.
Principled Critic
“We deeply mourn the loss of a highly principled and credible broadcast journalist, a fearless and untiring advocate of good governance, a true servant of the public, and a valuable partner in the quest for social justice and genuine social development,” the Palawan NGO Network Inc. said in a statement.
“We call on all Palaweños to uphold the legacy of Mr. Batul by expressing their disgust on this detestable crime, and by perpetuating his fight for truth, justice and decency in public service,” they added.
Rep. Antonio Alvarez also joined other Palawan officials in condemining the killing, saying: “Malaking dagok ito sa freedom of the press hindi lamang sa ating lalawigan kundi sa buong bansa na ang isang katulad ni Batul na may mataas na kredibilidad at iginagalang dahil sa kanyang mga prinsipyo at determinadong paglalahad ng mga anomalya sa pamahalaan at lipunan ay brutal at walang-awang pina-tahimik sa pamamagitan ng baril.”
He praised the Task Force for quickly arresting one of the suspects, and stressed the importance of solving the case soon to avoid public speculation regarding the possible involvement of other “personalities” in the crime.
In a rare move, the Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa and Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Batul.
“There could never be any acceptable justification in the treacherous and cowardly murder of anyone in an otherwise peaceful community such as ours,” the influential business and civic groups said. “May the vigilance of the citizenry and the renewed effort of law enforcement not only bring justice but may it likewise set our community free from violence and all acts of criminality.
The Palawan Community Media Council expressed concern about the threat to press freedom engendered by the killing.
“Dong Batul was a principled critic of known personalities in Puerto Princesa and fearlessly used the airwaves to defend decency in the political life of Palawan.,” the PCMC said.
“He was the voice of dissent in a climate of apparent indifference on the part of many Palaweños who may have shared his views in changing society but whose main concern was to eke out a living and survive the economic hardship brought about by uncertain times,” the PCMC statement said.
“That he was violently killed by assassins bent on silencing him permanently does not bode well for critical and credible discussion of problems of the community.”
The National Union for Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) sent a representative to Puerto Princesa to find out the circumstance behind the killing and provide financial assistance to Batul’s family.
In a statement issued on the day of the murder, the NUJP criticized President Arroyo for downplaying the spate of murders of media people in the country.
“The Arroyo government may argue until it is blue in the face that a culture of impunity does not exist in the country,” the NUJP said. “It should tell that to the family of Palawan broadcaster Fernando ‘Dong’ Batul.”
“Today, we call on all our colleagues to fight back. Let us cease to be just observers and recorders to the death of democracy,” the group exhorted the country’s media people.
“United, we can fight back the threats to our lives and liberties with the weapon we know best how to use – our profession, our pens, our cameras, our microphones,” the NUJP statement concluded.
- reported by the Bandillo ng Palawan news team/May 29-June 4, 2006 issue

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dong Batul shot dead

P1-M reward offered for information on assassins
By the Bandillo News Team/May 22-28, 2006 issue

FERNANDO “DONG” BATUL, the most popular and hard-hitting broadcaster in Puerto Princesa, was assassinated while on his way to work at radio station DYPR last May 22.
He was the first journalist killed in Palawan. Batul would have turned 37 on May 24.
Batul sustained 12 gunshot wounds, mostly in the head and chest, from .45 caliber and 9-mm handguns, Dr. Arlene Gaan from the Cooperative Hospital said. One of the bullets hit him right between the eyes, witnesses said.

Two suspects wearing helmets and riding a blue Honda motorcycle fired on Batul at close range, witnesses said. He was alone in his service vehicle, a dark green multicab, when the suspects shot him as he slowed down near a road hump on the corner of Valencia and Manalo streets, about 100 meters from DYPR, police said.

The gunmen fled toward the city center. Police had no immediate suspects, but the provincial government of Palawan and city government of Puerto Princesa have each offered half a million pesos reward for information on the killers.

Batul was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, near the scene of the crime. He was on his way to work as radio commentator for the popular radio program “Bastonero” when he was gunned down at about 6:45 a.m.

The incident happened nearly a month after a grenade attack on the Batul family residence in Bgy. San Manuel. Two live grenades were thrown inside his house last April 24 but these did not explode and were safely detonated. The attackers had posted a letter in red ink on the gate, warning Batul of dire consequences if he did not stop his hard-hitting statements on the airwaves.

Batul has incurred the ire of local politicians, rival broadcasters, military officials and erring government personnel due to his unrelenting and fiery attacks on corrupt practices and various anomalies for the past 10 years.

Mayor Edward Hagedorn, a frequent target of Batul’s critical commentaries, immediately washed his hands off the incident.

“Hinding-hindi natin gagawin ito. Hindi ko linya iyan. Alam ko na lahat mag-iisip na si Mayor iyan. Hindi totoo iyan,” Hagedorn said.

“Ang kinatatatakutan ko dito, wala kasing iba ever since. Ang gusto ko ang proteksyon ni Dong Batul dahil pag may nangyari sa taong iyan, ako talaga ang pagbibintangan at hindi magiging maganda ito sa image ng Puerto Princesa sa panahong kinokondena na ang pagpatay sa mga journalists,” he added.

“Marami namang puwedeng gumawa maliban sa akin,” Mayor Hagedorn said.

Gov. Joel Reyes expressed shock and dismay when he was interviewed at the hospital.

“I do not know what to say. Napakalaking dagok nito sa ating lalawigan,” he said.

“Wala tayong magagawa ngayon kundi to stay calm,” he added, saying this would be a major challenge for law enforcement agencies in the province.


Media colleagues, political leaders, and supporters of Batul are eyeing different angles regarding the killing, although it is widely believed that it was work-related.

Lourdes Escaros-Paet, Batul’s closest colleague at DYPR, tearfully revealed on the air that he was supposed to leave for Manila on May 24 to file a media corruption case against two broadcasters in a rival radio station in Palawan.

Former DYPR station manager Gerry Ortega, a close friend of Batul and associate in the religious group Couples for Christ, said he had warned Batul after the grenade attack that the threat on his life was serious, but the latter had refused to take extra precautions.

Many supporters who called up DYPR expressed grief and condemnation over the incident, which shocked residents in what is reputed as one of the country’s safest cities.

“Mariin naming kinokondena ang brutal at karumal-dumal na pagpatay kay Dong Batul,” Bishop Pedro Arigo said.

He called on the killers to claim responsibility for the killing and come out into the open, saying “sana’y magising sila sa katotohanan at huwag magtago sa dilim.”

Rep. Abraham Mitra described Batul’s killing as “a very, very serious matter” as no violent incident of this nature has ever been recorded in Palawan. He called on the police to solve the incident in the soonest possible time, saying “pag hindi mahuli, dapat talaga magpalit ng pamunuan.”

He said criticism from the public is part of every politician’s life, but added that conflicts with the media “should be decided in court” and not through killings.

“Definitely work-related ito,” Provincial Information Officer Rolando Bonoan, Jr. said. “Hindi naman basagulero si Dong at wala naman siyang personal na nakaaway na gagawa ng ganito,” he added.

“Ang nakakaalarma dito, this will send a continuous threat to all of us, hindi lang sa media. Hindi na tayo ligtas sa ating sariling lugar,” Bonoan said. “Paano pa ipaglalaban ang prinsipyo kung ang media ay takot na?”

Lyle Coruña, president of the Palawan Press Club, said: “We condemn the killing. Nakikiusap kami sa mga otoridad na bilisan ang imbestigasyon.”

DYPR did not immediately issue an official statement on the killing, and legal counsel Allan Carlos said the station was still awaiting the return of general manager Lulu Ilustre to Palawan.

From Media to Politics

Batul first gained popularity as a commentator on the evening program Kulog at Kidlat on RGMA radio station in the mid-1990s, before he successfully ran for vice mayor of Puerto Princesa City in 2001. He was unseated before he could finish his term, and suffered a subsequent electoral defeat in 2004.

After his stint in politics, Batul returned to broadcasting and rose once again to prominence as host of the popular morning program Bastonero. He is widely credited for putting DYPR on top of the ratings game among the four local AM stations last year.

As a radioman, Batul’s integrity and fearlessness were well known. But he also endeared himself to needy Palaweños who came to him for help, especially in medical emergencies.

Batul was scheduled to go on leave for three weeks, Paet said. Among his plans were to bring his mother to Baguio City for a vacation, and to go on a “soul-searching” trip due to the threats on his life arising from his work in the media.

A bachelor, Batul is survived by his mother and five siblings. He was the youngest in the family.
Batul’s remains were brought to the Princesa Funeral Homes in Bgy. San Pedro.

According to press reports, Batul is the 5th broadcaster killed in the Philippines this year.

Unfinished Business

Bandillo ng Palawan/May 22 – 28, 2006 issue

Go not gently into the night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
- Dylan Thomas

On a sunny Monday morning, while most people in Palawan were getting ready for another busy workweek, two men on a busy street corner had other things on their mind. They were waiting for a quarry, and as he rounded the corner, they snuffed the life out of him.

This should have been a joyful week. Residents of Puerto Princesa were looking forward to a float parade and the opening of the two-week Baragatan festival at the Capitol Park Square. Instead, the celebration was overshadowed by a grisly killing that sent chills down the spine of every principled Palaweño.

We are shocked with the brazenness of the assassination of Dong Batul, arguably the most popular broadcaster to have graced the airwaves of Palawan. It is not merely a killing, or a simple murder. The fact that it was carried out in broad daylight, on a busy street corner, and right in the heart of Puerto Princesa shows the impunity of the assassins. Many locals have commented that it could not have been done by a Palaweño. No one who was born and raised here, or who has chosen to call Palawan his or her home, could have done such a thing.

While that may be true, one thing is clear: only someone in Palawan could have ordered the killing. After all, Dong Batul only made “enemies” here. And they were only enemies in the sense that he was always seeking the truth, what is right, and what is just in this chaotic country of ours. In a city where government corruption is often talked about in whispers and most anomalies are simply swept under the rug, Dong Batul had the courage to take his crusade to the airwaves.

He was a firebrand, and often went overboard in his tirades, but in any civilized society, that is certainly no reason to take the life of anyone. After all, we have laws for that. It is only those with atavistic instincts, people who would want to take us back to the Dark Ages of intolerance and fascism, who would want to silence a voice of reason.

The challenge for law enforcers is not how fast they can catch the killers, but how far they will go in their investigation. Will they simply go after the assassins, the whodunit aspect which is the easiest to solve? Or do they have the courage to find out who ordered the dastardly and cowardly deed?

Whatever comes out of the police investigation, the killers and their puppet master failed to grasp an essential truth: killing one journalist does not spell the end of the quest to right the wrongs in society. As long as there are misdeeds to be exposed, there will always be people who will emerge as beacons of truth in any community.

The assassins have made a martyr out of Dong Batul. With this killing, they have sent out the message that truth shall not be tolerated in Puerto Princesa City. Dong Batul’s killers are afraid of the truth, but unfortunately for them, the truth always comes out in the end. And as long as the truth remains hidden, there will always be fearless people who shall continue the task of spreading the light of truth and justice.

Dong Batul is dead. Long live Dong Batul!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kung Bakit Bingi si Inang Reyna

Isang prosang tula ni JOHN IREMIL E. TEODORO

NAG-UMPISA ang takot ni Inang Reyna
nang mag-umpisang magkokak ang mga palaka
sa magkabilang pampang ng nangangamoy na ilog
tungkol sa kanyang pagkapekeng reyna.

Kapag nag-umpisa nang humuni ang mga palaka sa gabi,
tumatakbo papasok si Inang Reyna sa kanyang kuwarto upang mahiga.
Tinatakpan niya ng unan ang kanyang dalawang tenga.
Paulit-ulit na kinukuwento ng mga palaka
kung paano nagdagdag-bawas ang mga aso at baboy
na sundalo ni Inang Reyna noong nakaraang eleksiyon.

Paramihan ng golden kuhol ang eleksiyon.
Ilang sakong kuhol ang ninanak ng mga aso at baboy
mula sa imbakan ng mga kalaban ni Inang Reyna sa eleksiyon.

Hanggang sa may kumalat na pirated CD ng kumbersasyon sa telepono
ni Inang Reyna at ng mga inutusan niyang mandaya sa eleksiyon:
"Hello! Hello, aso?! Hello, baboy?! Kamusta ang mga golden kuhol?
Nailipat n'yo na ba sa ating bodega?"

Marami na talaga ang naiinis kay Inang Reyna
sa buong Kapangkaan nang dahil sa CD na ito.
Dagdagan pa ng e-vat at ang pagmahal
ng kada pirasong lamok na staple food ng mga palaka.
Kada semana, tumataas ng singkwenta sentimo ang bawat lamok.
Tapos, nalaman pa ng lahat na si Itang Pidal
na bana ni Inang Reyna, yumayaman araw-araw.
Kada minuto, tumataba ang bankbook nito.

Kaya nagrali ang mga palaka. Hala, rali sila nang rali.
"Palayasin sa Palasyo ang Pekeng Reyna!"
kokak ng mga palaka sa kalsada.
Hanggang sa naawa ang ibang mga aso at baboy
ni Inang Reyna sa mga raliyista.
May mga opisyal na aso at baboy ang nag-volunteer
na sumama sa mga palaka sa pagrali,
at kung kaawaan ng mga Diwata at swertehin,
hahabulin nila palabas si Inang Reyna
sa palasyo at ihuhulog sa kangkungan.

Pero ang planong ito ay narinig ng mga alagang uwak ni Inang Reyna.
Sa kanyang galit at sa kanyang takot na baka mapalayas siya sa palasyo,
nagdeklara si Inang Reyna ng National State of Emergency sa buong Kapangkaan.
Ipinagbawal niya ang pagrali ng mga palaka.
Ang mga nagtraidor na aso at baboy,
hinuli at kinulong sa tangkal. Yung iba kinatay.
Ipinagbawal ding magkokak ang mga palaka.
May mga bungangerang palaka nga na pinutulan ng dila.

Binalot ng mapanghing katahimikan ang buong Kapangkaan.
Walang palaka na nagko-kokak.
Pati ang paghuni ng kanilang lalamunan dahil sa gutom
ay itinatago nila. Mahirap na. Baka hulihin sila
ng mga loyalistang aso at baboy ni Inang Reyna.

Sa palasyo, sa unang gabing nadeklara
ang National State of Emergency,
nanibago si Inang Reyna sa katahimikan ng gabi.
Pakiramdam ni Inang Reyna,
nagsilayas ang lahat ng mga palaka ng Kapangkaan.
Pakiramdam niya, parang nag-caregiver at nagnars
ang lahat ng mga palaka sa Amerika at Europa.
Parang nagsumakit ang ulo ni Inang Reyna sa sobrang katahimikan.

Pero sa gitna ng katahimikan,
parang nauulinigan ni Inang Reyna
ang wire tapped recording ng boses niya:
"Hello! Hello, aso?! Hello, baboy?!
Kamusta ang mga golden kuhol? Nailipat n'yo na ba sa ating bodega?"

Habang lumalalim ang katahimikan ng gabi,
lumalakas naman ang paulit-ulit na pagtugtog ng
"Hello! Hello, ayam?! Hello, baboy?!" recording sa utak ni Inang Reyna.

Magmula noon, kinatatakutan na ni Inang Reyna
ang pagdating ng gabi. Gusto na sana niyang alisin
ang deklarasyon ng National State of Emergency sa Kapangkaan
upang magkokokak muli ang mga palaka.
Pero marami pa ang mga traidor na aso at baboy na dapat hulihin.

Sa ikapitong gabi, nanghina na si Inang Reyna.
Masakit na masakit na ang kanyang ulo
at ang kanyang noo ay parang pinupunit.
Walang ano-ano'y sumakit ang kanyang dalawang tenga.
Pumilipit sa marmol na sahig ng palasyo si Inang Reyna
sa sobrang sakit ng kanyang mga tenga.

"Ang mga palaka! Ang mga palaka, payagan nang magkalakala!"
sigaw niya sa loyalista niyang mga aso at baboy.
Pero nataranta ang lahat. Walang nakagalaw
at pinanood lamang ang naghihirap na reyna.

At bigla'y, nagulat ang lahat.
Sumabog ang magkabilang tenga ni Inang Reyna.
Umagos ang preskang dugo sa marmol na sahig.

Nang marinig ito ng mga palaka sa buong Kapangkaan,
nagsaya sila! May nag-ati-atihan, may nagdinagyang.
Nagpiyesta sila at nagprito ng isang milyong lamok.

Bingi na si Inang Reyna
nang magbalot siya ng mga damit
at lumayas sa palasyo.

- Published in Bandillo ng Palawan/March 2006

Watched Dog

This world seems to be getting too old that it's now messing up the natural order of things, adorning the summer with rain and storm instead of glorious sunshine. Perversions in every form are also disturbing, especially the manipulation of truth where the villains become heroes and the real heroes the villains. Our country has its own share of this shocking "magic" and foremost of these is the reversal of the media's role in society from being a watchdog into a watched dog because of GMA's Presidential Proclamation 1017. Now, it's the government watching the media instead of media watching the government, which is the established order in a democratic society. The proclamation has been lifted but its "chilling effect" still hovers over media agencies, making journalists tread slowly on sensitive issues for fear of earning the government's vindictive ire.

GMA's contempt for the media stemmed from the latter's refusal to adhere to her definition of responsible journalism, which is "more of good news than bad" especially when the subject is her economic reforms and governance policies. The media's perceived penchant for negative stories is also the reason cited by Atty. Romela Bengzon, a member of GMA's appointed Consultative Commission, as justification for the malicious insertion of the phrase "responsible exercise of" in Section 4 of the Bill of Rights. The defiled provision now reads, as proposed: "No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press." Of course, it will be GMA who will define the word "responsible."

Her indignation came out into the open during the 31st top management conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas last November in Baguio, where she urged them to cast off their "bad boy" image and be part of the solution for national development. "A press that loses credibility as the watchdog of government and the society becomes a drag to democracy rather than a force of freedom," she exhorted. In this statement, GMA cannot be faulted totally. Truly, the Philippine media is guilty of many excesses and abuses, an institution losing its credibility due to unethical practices and corruption. It has also failed to deliver its mandate, which is to empower the poor through information, as it remains largely under the control of the ruling elite.

But it's not GMA who should lecture the media: she has no right to do so. Her name stinks and her regime is founded on lies and treachery. Leave the matter to the market. Educate the consuming public, refine their taste and teach them to be critical thinkers and the mediocre media outfits and illiterate practitioners will disappear soon. After all, it is the politicians of the same cut as GMA that are corrupting the media. The abusive media is a monster of their making. They know that journalists earn so little so they offer them money in exchange for good publicity. They know that the media wields enormous influence in the community, so they hire journalists to malign and discredit their political rivals. It was they who taught media practitioners how to convert their power into thick bundles of bills. In Palawan, some politicians have polarized the media so much that instead of criticizing social evils and rampant corruption, journalists have been hitting each other. It is a Machiavellian ploy that has shattered the collective power of the local media. If lambasted in a critical radio station or newspaper, a politician will just go to a rival media entity to hit back at the offending writer or broadcaster.

Money tames the critical tongues of broadcasters and perverts the righteous hands of journalists; bullets silence what money cannot tame. When the media is reduced to shouting praises for crooked politicians, that is the worst perversion of our time. By then, the media would have morphed into dogs licking the heels of their politician masters.

Editorial published in March 2006/Bandillo ng Palawan