LOOKBACK: The Assassination of Jun Pala

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2017 10:54 PM

Jun Pala (left seated) interviewing Rodrigo Duterte (right seated) when the latter was still mayor of Davao City. Photo by Baby Castillo

Davao radio broadcaster Jun Porras Pala is in the news again almost 14 years after he was assassinated.

Last Monday, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas made an unexpected confession about the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS). 

After denying the group's existence during a Senate hearing last year, Lascañas shocked the public when he admitted that he was actually a leader of the shadowy DDS. 

Lascañas claimed that he, along with several other police officers, rebel returnees, and supporters of then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, carried out numerous killings of criminals and drug suspects in Davao City as members of the DDS. 

Among those Lascañas admitted killing was Davao radio anchor Jun Pala.

Pala was one of Duterte's harshest critics in Davao. 

In 2002, ABS-CBN's "The Correspondents" was able to interview Pala, who deplored the killing of children and minors in Davao under Duterte's campaign against criminality. Pala also said that under Duterte, only petty criminals were being killed. 

Pala described Davao under Duterte as a reign of terror. 

Duterte's has referred to Jun Pala as a corrupt journalist. In May 31 last year, Duterte mentioned Pala when asked about what he planned to do to stop media killings. 

Duterte said that most media practitioners who have been killed were corrupt, like Pala. He also said that Pala deserved to get killed, and he even knew who the killers were.

On Wednesday, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called for a probe into the death of Pala. 
 
“The recent revelation of SPO3 Arthur Lascanas that the murder of Davao broadcaster Jun Pala was allegedly ordered by now President Rodrigo Duterte deserves serious investigation,” the NUJP said in a statement.

“If Duterte did order Pala’s murder, then he should be tried and convicted for it, no ands, ifs, or buts,” the NUJP said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said that Lascañas is not a credible witness for retracting what he earlier said under oath in the Senate.

Chief Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said it also doesn't make sense for Duterte to have ordered the murders purportedly committed by the DDS.

"How can a president who is a lawyer do that? He is a lawyer. He commits a crime and then he shares it? It’s against human nature, against common sense, and there’s no logic in it," he said.

"Sinister forces are all over to discredit, to besmirch this man, but the popularity keeps on rising. The more you destroy him, the more he becomes popular, and the people believe in him," Panelo said.