The last thing that any journalist would want to end up with is being the news themselves. So, when I’ve learned that the Philippine Daily Inquirer issued a statement regarding a reported slay try on my former colleague, Mr. Delfin Mallari, Jr., it took me a while to believe what I’m reading.
I met Ka Jun during one bureau meeting in Lucena City back when I was still with the PDI as a correspondent sometime between 1999 and 2000. I remember that my first impressions of him was that he’s a kind person, humble and seem to be a principled journalist add to that he’s quite a funny guy, too. His slay try came just a day after another newsman was found dead, apparently killed because of his chosen profession.
If you’re a journalist in the Philippines and your in a critical area covering a critical beat especially politics, drugs or illegal gambling, expect the worse to happen anytime you hit a sensitive spot of the industry. So, this would mean that your closest family member should be prepared when the time/day comes for you to be the news. I remember covering the news on the illegal numbers game or Jueteng in Laguna. One of my stories was published. A few days after, suspicious-looking men began surveying our house and was asking for me. It was pretty scary to think that I haven’t written, yet, a critical or explosive story. Suddenly, covering the games of the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association became interesting. 🙂
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Chairperson Joe Torres described the events this week as another dark period for Philippine Media. He cited a number of cases of harrassment against journalists in just one week all over the country.
Ka Jun might have survived the slay try and I’m pretty sure that he’ll continue what he loves best but the bullet that almost took his life is still lodged in his body. A grim reminder that his chosen profession is anything but safe.
Ka Jun, second from left, during a rally in August 2004 in front of Camp Crame. They were condemning unresolved killings of journalists in the country. Three years after, he was almost one of the statistics. (From Prof. Danny Arao’s site)
DATESTAMP: 23 April 2007; 10.14pm, Bangkok time
Most of my Filipino readers might have read it over the Philippine Daily Inquirer but here’s an excerpt of Ka Jun’s thoughts on his slay try:
I now realize that being a part of a big national media entity, like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and being a responsible media practitioner no longer guarantee one’s personal security.
I used to read in various articles about the Philippine media industry being under siege and about journalists being abducted, maimed, tortured and killed by enemies of press freedom.
After condemning the attacks, my naïve, provincial journalist frame of mind just brushed them off as part of the hazards of the profession. I thought that I would never be physically harmed as I had been circumspect in all my writings, no matter how explosive the topic was.
But these justifications seem not valid anymore.