BY ALEX P. VIDAL
I don’t agree with insinuations that because murdered broadcaster Niel “Lito”Jimena “lived an unethical life,” he deserved to be killed.
This statement from a retired PNP colonel to a fellow city hall employee is not only irresponsible but also unprofessional and reeks with arrogance and fascism.
Murder will always be a crime no matter how we pronounce it; killing a person will always be a violation of God’s commandment no matter how we justify or tolerate it. We can never justify the termination of any life based on principles and beliefs.
In a society that values the freedom of the press and expression under the Bill of Rights, the right to criticize and oppose is sacred and inherent in every citizen.
Granting for the sake of discussion that Jimena, 42, was not a model media practitioner and his association with police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong and other private individuals that helped finance his blocktime program was something that made him infamous and notorious, the least that his enemies could have done was to file a case against him. Not terminate his life.
We have the courts of law that will throw the books on any erring individual regardless of profession or political and religious connections. After all, nobody is above the law!
The Magna Carta of Freedom whether written on unwritten bespeaks of individual rights. But the ironical events of history testify that individual rights have never come in silver platter for the blood of martyrs flowed underneath the sarcophagus of freedom.
And men never learned their lesson for they take freedom for granted of the given irreducibly primary of nature which is not the case.
The quest for freedom is dogged trail for mankind. It has been so because man the beneficiary of freedom does not understand why he needs it. If man’s interpretation of freedom is mystical, social or conventional, then his individual rights hang on arbitrary axioms that can be granted or denied at the pleasure by the benefactor.
Individual rights being political, economic and social need a moral and philosophical system. These individual rights could only ferment in favorable condition of freedom under democracy and in free enterprise under laissez faire capitalism. There is no other alternative tested or tried that could guarantee fully the individual his liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Despite his not-so-good reputation, I still strongly maintain that Jimena did not deserve to be killed.
Meanwhile, I doff my hats off to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) for its statement released 48 hours after Jimena was murdered.
Signed by national president Nestor Burgos, the NUJP statement thus stated: “A broadcaster was shot dead Monday night in Negros Occidental province, reports from local and national media said.
“Political blocktimer Niel “Lito” Jimena, 42, was declared dead on arrival from five gunshots at the provincial hospital in Silay City, according to dyEZ Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod.
“A block-time is a paid time slot in radio stations whose hosts are usually employed by the buyer or producer of the time slot.
“The online news portal Interaksyon.com quoted Supt. Louis Garonga, deputy chief for operations of the Western Visayas police, as saying Jimena was shot at his residence in Hacienda Theresa, E.B. Magalona town. Station dyEZ said he was shot by two men who chased him down on a motorcycle.
“Police have yet to determine the motive for the killing or if it is related to Jimena’s work.
“Jimena wrote for Ilonggo News and other newspapers and worked for various radio stations in Iloilo in the 1980s until the early 1990s. He later moved to Negros Occidental.
“In recent years, Jimena co-hosted block-time radio programs in Iloilo. The block time program “Husgador” which he co-hosted over dyRI of Radio Mindanao Network-Iloilo ended last week.
“Former colleagues said Jimena’s ethical practice had at times been questioned and that, at one point, he worked as an informant for an anti-narcotics agency.
“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called for an investigation on Jimena’s killing to determine the motive of the crime and the arrest of his killers.”