Did retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. mastermind the killing of Davao City radio journalist Ferdinand Lintuan? This question has come to the fore in the wake of revelations by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that Palparan was sighted in Davao City two weeks before Lintuan’s killing, and that he had been hired as a military consultant by Rep. Prospero Nograles.
BY MARK ANGELES
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 47, January 6-12, 2008
Did retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. mastermind the killing of Davao City radio journalist Ferdinand Lintuan?
This question has come to the fore in the wake of revelations by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that Palparan was sighted in Davao City two weeks before Lintuan’s killing, and that he had been hired as a military consultant by Rep. Prospero Nograles.
Lintuan, nicknamed “Batman” by his colleagues, was murdered Christmas eve just after leaving DXGO where he hosted a local radio program. Two men riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets shot him at close range when he was driving a car with two fellow journalists, Louie Ceniza and Edgar Banzon.
In a press conference, Duterte purported that there were reports of Palparan being sighted in Davao City two weeks before Lintuan was gunned down.
Duterte also criticized the alleged hiring of Palparan as a military consultant to his political rival Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles.
This he said while Task Force Batman, formed by the Philippine National Police, was closely looking at a possible involvement of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) in the slaying of the broadcaster.
Critics had linked Duterte to DDS, a vigilant group in Davao City held responsible for summarily killing street urchins and drug dealers.
It was Nograles, an administration representative, who first told the media that the DDS was responsible for the murder. Nograles has denied needing the services of any military consultant.
Palparan, who was praised by President Arroyo in her State of the Nation Address last year, denied his role in the murder as in all documented human rights violations that had been charged against him.
Reporters sans Frontieres (Reports Without Borders) already have pressed the Arroyo government to track down the murderers of Lintuan.
“The Philippine press community has again been hit by a terrible murder. The method used leaves no doubt that it was a targeted killing of a journalist who had criticised local politicians. President Arroyo and the national police chief have a duty to give the local investigators all the resources they need to catch the gunmen and those who put them up to it.”
Lintuan had steadily accused local officials of corruption in connection with the “People’s Park,” a local development project, which he dubbed the “Crocodiles’ Park.”
In December, Arroyo had been awarded a gold medal by a Spanish University for championing human rights and was hailed by the Spanish King Juan Carlos I for “opening the way to democracy in Asia.”
A week after, Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, not only named the Philippines the second most corrupt country in Asia and one of the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world; it also tagged Arroyo as the most corrupt president in Philippine history.
Local human rights organization Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) has reported 183 forced disappearances and over 800 killings since 2001. International groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the EU Commission’s Joint-Needs Assessment Mission has criticized the government’s policy on counter-insurgency.
The Philippines has been known to be in the list of most dangerous places for journalists. In Davao alone, there were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani, Rogie Zagado, and Juan Pala, Jr.
Lintuan is the fifth journalist murdered in the Philippines in 2007. Two other journalists were wounded in separate attacks in 2007. Contributed to (Bulatlat.com)