BY ALEX P. VIDAL
Police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong has a lot of explaining to do, first, to the bereaved family of murdered radioman Niel “Lito” Jimena; and, second, to members of media in Iloilo and Negros.
It was Amiyong who recruited Jimena, 42, to become civilian agent of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) several years back thus exposing the radioman’s life to danger.
If Amiyong did not enlist Jimena in the dangerous police operation, he probably did not suffer a cruel death last August 22 in Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
A radioman or any media practitioner for that matter, can’t serve two masters at the same time. There is always conflict of interest; and he ceases to be impartial once he wears multiple caps and lays his hand on a payroll outside his mandate as fiscalizer and purveyor of truth.
But because he probably thought he was incompetent as law enforcer, Amiyong needed to buttress his force by hiring the services of a mediaman to act as his sidekick. And Amiyong was so proud of this arrangement that he had no qualms telling all and sundry he was instrumental why Jimena was allowed to carry a firearm.
While having coffee at Dunkin Donut inside a mall in Iloilo City several months back, Jimena joined me in the table to ask my help regarding his relative who wanted to migrate to Canada. When I saw a short firearm tucked in his waist, I grilled him why he was carrying a deadly weapon when, as member of the Fourth Estate, he was supposed to be non-combatant (I am against the idea of allowing journalists to carry a gun. The pen itself is “mightier than the sword”).
Jimena told me he was “helping” Amiyong in the cop’s campaign against illegal drugs in Iloilo. In what capacity and how, he did not elaborate. How did he become instant police civilian agent while at the same time handling radio blocktime programs for politicians and businessmen was something that boggled my mind.
My worries reached a climax on August 22 near midnight when columnist Peter Jimenea texted me to inform that Jimena had been shot dead in Victorias City, Negros Occidental at around 6 o’clock that evening.
According to police report, Jimena was riding on his motorcycle at around 5:45 p.m. from Victorias City on his way to his temporary residence at Hacienda Teresa in Brgy. Alicante, E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental when two men riding in a motorcycle chased him and started shooting him.
Jimena incurred two bullet wounds in the back that exited in the front of his body. When he tried to escape by returning to Victorias City, his motorcycle lost control and fell. At this juncture, the assailants came nearer and pumped two more bullets on his head.
Probers said Jimena was still breathing when rushed to the Silay City Provincial Hospital where he expired at around 6:30 p.m.
“Ka Peter” Jimenea also had misgivings of Jimena having ties with the controversial Amiyong whose credibility as anti-illegal drugs crusader is also a big question mark ( I have covered the police beat in the early 90’s and, more or less, I am familiar with Amiyong’s “talent”).
Probers are zeroing in on the suspects who also tried to kill Jimena in 2009 in Taytay Malago, Victorias City. In the first attack, Jimena was hit only in the leg and survived. Last August 22, they made sure Jimena was dead.
Many believed Jimena flirted with disaster when he decided to tie up with Amiyong. Probers theorized the hitmen could be hired killers or members of a drug syndicate that collided with Amiyong’s team.
Although he had also incurred the ire of politicians and private individuals in his blocktime programs in Iloilo City, the issues that Jimena handled were not so dangerous that would warrant his brutal murder.
Only those with primitive minds that harbor deep hatred and ax to grind against Jimena and his activities as Amiyong’s civilian agent would be emboldened to commit the dastardly crime, and Amiyong, as command responsibility, is not blameless for the death of Lito Jimena being his superior.
We condemn Jimena’s treacherous and senseless murder and demand immediate justice for our fallen comrade. Rest in peace, Lito!