Maanne Ilagan Lopez

On “The death of Batman”

Lopez, Maanne I.

Editorial and Opinion Writing

January 8, 2008

The December 27 editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is entitled “The death of Batman,” which refers to the killing of Davao Broadcast Journalist Fernando “Batman” Lintuan. I am not a regular listener of radio commentaries aired here in Manila, so basically I do not know the victim. But hey! Another journalist was killed, and as a future journalist I should be wary of the matter and I am. The Philippines now holds one of the highest records of journalists’ killing. Up to this date, justice is cloudy for slain journalists. Now another media man had been murdered, where is justice?

The Philippine National Police raised the possibility that it was the Davao Death Squad who put an end to Batman’s life. How come I’ve never heard of such a group considering that they are so-called vigilantes who have killed some 500 victims in Davao since 1998? If the PNP knew about his group, why don’t they arrest them? This group are said to kill their targets without wearing masks, so probably they could be recognized. There are only two things that come in mind why the death squad can still wander around: one is that the Davao government is afraid of the death squad; or they support the violent activities of the vigilantes.

It’s possible that there is connivance between the Davao government and the Davao Death Squad since the group is often linked to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The mayor is said to habitually use languages that coyly suggests the approval of the squad’s killings.

On the other hand, the PNP is also looking at other angles, since Batman had hit hard against other targets. There is a possibility that others committed the crime. But nonetheless, I agree that Davao residents should force to demand a thorough investigation of the Death Squad, and to reconsider the costs of willed ignorance.


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