Saturday, July 15, 2006

Catholic Church Honors Slain Broadcaster

By Lourdes Escaros-Paet

CATHOLIC CHURCH officials have given a posthumous award to slain broadcast journalist and former City Vice Mayor Fernando Batul in recognition of his contributions to the local community in Palawan as a devout Catholic layman.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales personally handed the award to Conrada Batul, the mother of the slain broadcaster, during the commencement ceremony of the Golden Jubilee of the vicariate at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa City last July 2.

Bishop Pedro Arigo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa Arigo personally endorsed Batul for the “Para sa Diyos at sa Bayan Award” because of his exemplary life as a broadcaster who passionately pursued the ideals of truth and justice for the public good.

“Hindi kayang tawaran ang mga nagawa niya lalo na sa pagbulgar ng mga bayarang mamamahayag,” said Arigo, referring to Batul’s crusade to clean the ranks of Palawan’s broadcast media of corrupt practitioners.

Batul, who was gunned down just two days before his 37th birthday, was actively involved in various ministries and organizations of the church such as the Singles for Christ.

As a broadcaster, his faith and zeal for spiritual matters often found their way into his commentaries, elevating his program to a more holistic level.

He was also affiliated with various civic organizations, including the Oil Jaycees, and was an active member of the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity.

The Batul family expressed their gratitude to the Catholic Church for the prestigious award.

Meanwhile, for the second time, the court rescheduled the arraignment of murder suspect Aaron Golifardo, which had beed scheduled last June 22.

The defense counsels availed of the standard 15-day allowance to file a motion for reconsideration on their motion to quash the murder charges against their client, which the court junked for lack of merit.

As this developed, the eight-year old son of Golifardo appealed to First Gentleman Mike Arroyo for the release of his father, whom he said was innocent of the charges against him.
“Tulungan niyo po ako na kausapin ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas na palayain ang aking tatay. Sige na po, parang awa na ninyo. Wala pong kasalanan ang aking tatay,” Aaron Golifardo Jr. said in a letter to Arroyo written on a single sheet of elementary pad paper. He showed the letter to Bandillo ng Palawan before mailing ito to Mr. Arroyo.

He said he wrote the letter as a Father’s Day gift to the older Golifardo, who has been in jail since May 24. The boy said he knows his father, a policeman, did not kill Batul because they were together when the murder incident happened last May 22.

A pupil in a public elementary school, the young Golifardo appealed to the Task Force Dong Batul to release his father and find the real gunmen. He also relayed a message to his father, saying “Papa nalulungkot po ako sa ‘yo, alam kong wala kang kasalanan.”


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