Climate of Impunity Lingers on
I was shocked early this morning by a call and a text message that our friend and collegue Bayan Muna Coordinator Fernando Baldomero was gunned down at 6:30 this morning. He was about to ride his motorcycle to bring his kid to school when two men on motorcycle wearing helmet and black jacket gunned him down. He was hit at the head twice leaving him dead in front of his house at Barangay Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan. The perpetrators were not yet identified by the police.
Baldomero was the 6th victim of extra judicial killing in a period of one month when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo finished her term last June 30 and the first political activist killed after President Noynoy Aquino officially took his presidential term five days ago. Two days ago, Jose Daguio, a 75 year old radio reporter and a journalist of the local paper in Tabuk City, a province in northern Philippines was also shot dead in front of his house. Daguio was the third journalist killed in less than a month.
Ernan Baldomero, a journalist of the local paper and the son of Fernando Baldomero said his father doesn’t have any personal conflicts or enemies in his community. In fact, people come to him for help anytime of the day. The only enemy he got was the military for being a leader of a progressive political party Bayan Muna (People First), lamented Ernan.
Baldomero was an elected town official for six years and he also won for another 3 year term last May 10 election. Last April 19 at the height of electoral campaign, two grenades were blasted to their ancestral house. The house was damaged and fortunately nobody was hurt. Despite the negative campaign against him by the military he still won during the election.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan ( New People’s Alliance) , a nation wide umbrella of militant organizations condemned such killing and called a nationwide condemnation actions bringing the issue to President Aquino in putting a stop to endless and wanton political killings in the country.
The Filipino people get rid of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last June 30. As she ends her presidential term everybody was jubilant including the international community. Macapagal-Arroyo left thousands of bleeding heart Filipinos with her legacy on political killings of activists and journalists. But her legacy of human rights violations and the climate of impunity did not end when her end term last in June 30, it’s still continuing today.
I couldn’t hold our new President Aquino accountable for this today, which I’m sure mostly will agree with me. But I’m hoping that the Filipino people and the victims of human rights violation will be given justice by the Aquino administration including our friend and colleague Fernando Baldomero. President Aquino must immediately take the full force of the law to prosecute Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo and all the perpetrators of human rights violations or else the climate of impunity will linger on.
I am also calling all Filipinos to keep vigilant despite the promises of a brighter future of the new administration. We must not be complacent after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The system and the machineries that murdered thousands of Filipino people who cries for peace and justice are still intact. It is our vigilance that must remind the new government all the times not to forget his promises of peace, justice and development. Let the life and death of Fernando Baldomero and all the martyrs an inspiration for us to keep on threading the winding path to justice.