Days after a broadcaster was shot dead in Palawan, a publisher-editor in Iloilo sustained a head injury after an unidentified assailant attacked him on the head with a hard object on Wednesday night.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) identified the victim as Lemuel Fernandez, publisher-editor of the Iloilo-based Western Visayas Daily Guardian, and host of the weekly radio program “The Guardia On Air.”
According to Francis Allan Angelo, the newspaper’s managing editor, said he and Fernandez had just finished editing Thursday’s issue of the newspaper and were about to board their vehicles when the assailant struck Fernandez in front of their office in Molo District in Iloilo City.
“Angelo said he rushed to Fernandez after he heard him cry out for help and saw him holding the back of his neck, already bloodied. He then brought his superior to the Iloilo St. Paul’s Hospital for treatment,” said the NUJP report.
The NUJP report said that “Fernandez told Angelo that his assailant who immediately fled was in short pants and wearing a white shirt”.
Condemning the attack on Fernandez, the NUJP chapter in Iloilo called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident even as it also encourages members of the tri-media to be always on guard and put personal safety above all other priorities.”
Bert Ladera, chair of NUJP-Iloilo, said that “the failure on the part of concerned authorities to take appropriate action on the matter may cause a chilling effect to other media colleagues who are regarded as defenders of press freedom.”
“Let us not allow the perception that society today is getting harsh and lawlessness is creeping in our midst,” Ladera added.
Last Monday, broadcaster and environmental advocate Dr. Gerardo Ortega died instantly when he was shot by a gunman in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.