Response to Mr. Butch Castillo’s Column

September 7, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

Reference:

Pauline Gidget Estella

National Deputy Secretary General

0915.335.20.21

 

Last September 5, the column titled “Palawan’s gubernatorial contest in 2013” was published in the Business Mirror. According to the column, “Even the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, which used to be a very prestigious association of college publications (of which I am a proud alumni member) had to issue a statement suggesting that ‘the government…seems to be hesitant in holding the perpetrators accountable, let alone finding them.’ The CEGP, too, seems to have been taken in by the Ortega line.”

The CEGP believes that it has to issue a response to Mr. Butch Castillo’s statement and stress several important points. The CEGP is not pointing a finger at exonerated former governor Joel Reyes. What the Guild condemns is the culture of impunity in which perpetrators can get away with shooting a journalist in broad daylight. What it condemns is the snail-like pace not only of Ortega’s murder case but also of other cases of journalist killings. As an alliance advocating press freedom, the Guild is calling for a speedy resolution of the case, and we could not accept any less than holding the true perpetrators accountable for their crime.

The alliance is engaging in this campaign not because it wants to indict Reyes, but because the issue is about journalists who risked their lives in exposing the truth against corruption, unbridled exploitation of natural resources and manpower, among others. CEGP believes that the slow progress can suggest only two things: incompetence in finding the suspects or hesitation in the part of the government. Both of these are making the country a dangerous place for those who only wanted to arm the citizens with the knowledge to fight for their rights.

Lastly, the CEGP remains to be the prestigious institution of which Mr. Castillo is an alumni member. In fact, the Guild, which is already in its 80th year, has expanded to more than 650 member publications all over the country.

coriell-bernice@mailxu.com stifterjamila@mailxu.com