Updated 7:55 p.m., May 1, 2018
“Sabi ko sa kanya, lumaban siya at maliliit pa ang mga bata,” (I told him to fight for his life; our children are still young).
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Two days before the World Press Freedom Day, radio broadcaster Edmund Sestoso died at around 2:30 p.m. today, May 1.
Estoso, 50, was anchor of the daily program “Tug-anan” on dyGB 91.7 FM, was shot by motorcycle riding men at around 10:00 a.m. yesterday April 30 while on his way home to barangay Daro, Dumaguete City. He was rushed to the Silliman University Medical Center. He sustained five gunshot wounds and died hours after an operation.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Sestoso is the ninth journalist to be murdered under the presidency of Rodrigo R. Duterte and the 182nd since 1986.
Sestoso left behind his wife Lourdes and two daughters aged 11 and 13.
In between sobs, Sestoso’s wife Lourdes told Bulatlat in a phone interview, “Sabi ko sa kanya, lumaban siya at maliliit pa ang mga bata,” (I told him to fight for his life; our children are still young). Lourdes, who works as a job-order employee at the provincial government, added, “Paano ko ngayon bubuhayin ang mga bata?” (How do I support my children now?)
Lourdes said her husband did not tell her of any particular threat before the incident. She called on the authorities to resolve the case.
In a statement, the NUJP said the attack on Sestoso “underscores how deeply the culture of impunity has rooted itself in our country, emboldening those who wish to silence not only the press but to control civic discourse in general by stamping out critical and dissenting voices.”
The NUJP called on the government to “fulfill its obligation to protect the citizenry, uphold all basic democratic rights and stop vilifying those who freely express themselves.”
“Nevertheless, we are certain that independent Philippine journalists will not be cowed, not by threats nor attacks, and will continue to serve the people’s right to know even as we advance the struggle for a truly free press,” the group added.
Sestoso wrote stories for Bulatlat, mostly about human rights violations in Negros during the time of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Bulatlat.com