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What Went Before: Media killings under Aquino administration

/ 06:05 AM June 11, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–More than 20 journalists and media workers have been killed under the Aquino administration, based on the count of media watchdogs as of the end of May.

On May 23, Sammy Oliverio, who hosted several programs on local radio stations in Digos City, Davao del Sur province, was shot twice in the head and nape by two men riding on a motorbike.

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According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Oliverio was the 28th journalist or media worker killed since President Aquino took office in 2010. Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) counts him as the 24th.

In a letter to the editor published in the Inquirer on May 30, Melinda Quintos de Jesus, CMFR executive director, explained that its count was lower because CMFR “researches each case and excludes those (killings) it has found to be unrelated to the individual’s work as a journalist/media worker.”

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“CMFR does not include on its list four journalists killed between 2011 and 2013 because, after extensive investigation, we established that they were killed because of a business dispute, in the course of a robbery, or because of purely personal matters,” De Jesus said.

In CMFR’s tally, Oliverio is listed as the third journalist to be killed this year.

On May 4, broadcaster Richard Nadjid of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, was killed. Aside from being a spinner at the DxNN Power Myx FM in Tawi-Tawi province, Nadjid also handled the station’s daily public affairs program.

On April 6, Rubylita Garcia, a correspondent of the tabloid Remate, died five hours after two gunmen shot her in front of her 10-year-old granddaughter in her house in Bacoor City.

In the same month, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released the latest Global Impunity Index, which ranked the Philippines as one of the top three countries where murder of journalists is most likely to go unpunished.

The Philippines has been in the No. 3 slot since 2010, while Iraq, with 100-percent impunity, has ranked first since the survey began in 2008. Somalia has been in the second spot for the last four years.

From Nov. 29 to Dec. 11 last year, three journalists in Mindanao were killed and one was wounded in the Visayas.

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On Dec. 11, Rogelio Butalid, a block-timer for 107.9 FM Radyo Natin, was shot dead by a lone killer in Tagum City in Davao del Norte province shortly after he finished his radio program.

The previous night, unidentified men shot and wounded Jonavin “Jhey-R” Villalba, a radio reporter, in Iloilo City.

On Dec. 6 last year, radioman Michael Milo was gunned down in Tandag City in Surigao del Sur province. The previous week, another radioman, Joas Dignos, was killed in Valencia City in Bukidnon province.

CPJ, in its report, cited as “a welcome development” last year’s conviction of a gunman in the 2011 murder of Palawan broadcaster Gerardo Ortega. But the group noted that “it did little to change the rampant impunity in the Philippines.”

On Jan. 24, 2011, a lone assailant shot Ortega in a used-clothing store in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province.

Gunman Marlon Recamata was sentenced to life imprisonment in May last year but the alleged masterminds of the murder—former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes—have remained at large.–Inquirer Research

Source: Inquirer Archives

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TAGS: journalists, Media, Media killings, Philippines
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