April 23, 2024

Press Freedom


Philippines March 21, 2005

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Office of the President
Malacanang Palace
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: (011.63.2) 735-6152

Your Excellency:

We write again, more in sorrow than in hope that anything will be done, to protest the continuing carnage afflicting journalists in the Philippines .

Since the beginning of this year, Arnulfo Villanueva , a columnist on the newspaper, Asian Star Express Balita, has been shot dead, and according to Reporters Without Borders, six more, including radio presenter, Jess Abarondo , working for DWDD radio, and columnist, Pablo Hernandez of the tabloid Bulgar, have been brutally attacked or have received death threats. In addition , Edgar Amoro , a witness

to the murder of journalist, Edgar Damalerio, was murdered on February 2 in what seems a transparent attempt to suppress evidence against Damalerio’s suspected killer, police officer Guillermo Wapile.

Death threats have been made against Amoro’s family, and Edgar Ongue, the last surviving witness to the Damalerio killing, escaped a murder attempt on February 9.

By reliable accounts, no fewer than twelve journalists were killed in your country last year alone, and the number murdered without any retribution since 1986 is now 62. In a word, this is an intolerable record.

As we have repeatedly written, the Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for 65 years, honors Your Excellency’s frequent promises to protect journalists and honor freedom of the media. But without any tangible progress in investigating any of these atrocities, it is difficult to see any meaning in these words.

As we wrote you less than two months ago, we applaud your creation of a task force to investigate the killings of journalists. We urge you to support this program strongly and to make certain that the perpetrators are brought to justice. When you address your nation, we hope you will make it clear that crimes against journalists are especially heinous and have no place in a modern democracy.

Thank you for your attention. We would appreciate a reply.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee   

cc:   Albert del Rosario         

Ambassador of the Philippines to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines

1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20036

Fax: (202) 467-9417


Ambassador Lauro L. Baja

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines

to the United Nations

556 Fifth Avenue

New York , NY 10036

Fax: (212) 840-8602


Francis J. Ricciardone

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines

Embassy of the United States of America

1201 Roxas Boulevard



Fax: (011.63.2) 522-4361

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The Editor, Cebu Daily News