BD: We hounded the government so hard about this for years. The government set up a special investigative unit to handle assaults specifically on journalists. It barely slowed things down. Investigations need to be carried out with local police, whose security or personal interests might be compromised. You can send down a federal investigator, who may not be as deeply committed to the case as a local prosecutor. It’s that kind of attitude, and that kind of approach, that has made the Philippines the country with the sixth-worst record in the world in terms of bringing killers of journalists to justice.
Special steps have been taken, and I suppose we could drum up some more. But frankly, who can stop two men from getting on a motorcycle on a busy weekday morning and following a radio announcer as he drops off this daughter at school, and then driving by and shooting him as he gets back in his car, which is a real-life scenario? And then the perpetrators are not brought to justice. It’s a question of political will, it’s a question of economic and social development, it’s a question of a pervasive gun culture. You have to see these killings of journalists, and the uninvestigated killings of many, many, many, many people in the Philippines, as part of a larger political failure.