The Philippine Star
The deadly attack might not be related to journalism, according to initial reports. The only way to find out, however, is to catch the killers of Manuel Lacsamana, a propety developer and quarry operator who contributed to the local monthly The Media Messenger and chaired the Central Luzon Media Association.
Lacsamana was on his way home from a business meeting and was driving his pick-up truck along Mabini Street in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija before midnight of June 23 when gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire. He was able to continue driving a short distance but eventually died.
Whether or not the attack was related to journalism, the killers must be brought to justice. With Lacsamana’s murder, the Philippines will likely retain its ranking among the worst countries in the Impunity Index drawn up by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Philippines ranked fifth worst in the latest index, which rates countries based on the number of deadly attacks on journalists and ability to bring the killers to justice.
The inability has made the country one of the most “murderous” and dangerous for media workers for many years now. A Presidential Task Force on Media Safety has been formed, but the solution rate for journalist killings remains disappointing.
The poor solution rate for all murders and homicides in this country, with thousands perpetrated in the past two years alone, has bred the impunity that guarantees more killings. Journalists aren’t the only targets. Left-leaning activists, legal professionals and, recently, even priests have been shot dead, mostly by gunmen on motorcycles. With an election year approaching, deadly violence is expected to escalate as politicians, believing they can get away with any crime, use murder as the ultimate weapon for permanently eliminating rivals.
Solving crime means not only arresting a suspect but also securing final conviction and sending the offender to prison. Hired guns and masterminds alike must be brought to justice. This should warrant the urgent attention of an administration that professes to give priority to fighting crime. As long as people believe they can get away with breaking the law, impunity will reign.