CamSur radioman slainBy Mar S. Arguelles
Agence France-Presse, Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—(UPDATE) A radio commentator was gunned down early Monday by an unidentified assailant in Iriga City in Camarines Sur, a police official said.
Romeo Olea, 49, who works for dwEB-FM based in Nabua, Camarines Sur, was onboard a motorcycle on his way to work when he was gunned down at around 5:52 a.m., according to Senior Inspector Ayn Natuel, spokesperson of the Bicol police.
Olea was negotiating a road in front of the Holy Child Learning Center in Barangay (village) San Jose when the gunman, who was riding in tandem with another person on a motorcycle, fired at him at close range, hitting him in the back.
Olea was rushed to the Rinconada Medical Center in Iriga City but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the back, Natuel said.
Scene of Crime Operatives recovered two spent shells from a 9-mm pistol at the crime scene.
Task Group Olea was formed to conduct investigation on the case, said Natuel.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists and police said the killing of Romeo Olea was likely linked to his show, which focused on a small city government in the east of the country.
Olea’s wife reported that he had received death threats, local police director Senior Superintendent Victor Deona told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“There is a very big possibility that this is work-related,” Deona said.
However he said Olea’s wife was still too traumatised to give details about the death threats, and that investigators still needed to review the victim’s broadcasts to see if he may have angered powerful interests.
Olea is the seventh media personality killed in Bicol since 1986. It was the second killing of a DWEB reporter in less than a year.
DWEB commentator Miguel Belen was fatally shot in what police said may have been a politically motivated killing in July last year. However no one has been arrested for the crime.
Deona said he could not say if the two killings were linked.
The Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a local press watchdog, said Olea’s daily show, called “Anything Goes”, discussed issues concerning Iriga city’s government.
The chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Nestor Burgos, said he was “shocked” by the incident but that he was still trying to get more details on what happened.
“If this is work-related, this would be the fourth (such killing) this year and 145th since democracy was restored in 1986,” he told AFP.
Media and rights groups say the Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists due to a “culture of impunity” where firearms are common and powerful figures believe they are above the law.
In the most infamous incident, 30 journalists were among 57 people murdered in the southern Philippines in 2009, allegedly by members of a powerful clan
who wanted to eliminate a rival’s political challenge.
Originally posted at 12:47 pm | Monday, June 13th, 2011