FEBRUARY 11, 2004
Posted: February 11, 2004
Ruel Endrinal, DZRC
At about 6:20 a.m. today, two unidentified gunmen shot Endrinal, a commentator
on radio station DZRC in Legazpi City, Albay Province in the eastern Philippines,
as he was leaving his house for the radio station. The local police chief,
Jaime Lazar, told journalists that the assailants shot Endrinal in the
foot, and then continued shooting him in the head and body as he fell.
Endrinal hosted a political commentary show on DZRC in which he spoke
out against local politicians and criminal gangs, said the Manila-based
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). He also published
a regional newspaper Bicol Metro News.
Police do not have any suspects in the case. However, according to CMFR,
police are holding two witnesses who can identify the assailants and who
saw the gunmen in the area in the days prior to the murder. Endrinal’s
wife and colleagues said that he had recently received death threats.
MAY 9, 2004
Posted: May 14, 2004
On the eve of Philippine elections, the national Commission on Elections
(Comelec) shut two radio stations run by the private network Bombo Radyo,
located in Cauayan City, Isabela Province, on the island of Luzon. This
is the second time this year that the stations, DWIT and DZNC, have been
forced to close.
After protests from Bombo Radyo directors, Comelec re-examined its May
9 decision, which had been signed by only two of the commission's seven
members. Comelec reversed its order unanimously, and the stations reopened
on May 17.
On Feb. 17, Cauayan City's government, led by Mayor Caesar Dy, ordered
the police to close the stations because they allegedly failed to submit
documents required for renewing their business license and zoning clearance.
But Comelec ordered the stations to reopen in a ruling on March 23. Following
the order, Bombo Radyo resumed operations in Cauayan, but police officials
again closed the stations hours later. The stations reopened on March
Charmy Sabigan, station manager of DZNC, told CPJ that the stations had
submitted proper documentation on time.
Local journalists and press freedom organizations condemned the closures
and said the actions were politically motivated. Bombo Radyo, known for
its pointed political coverage, has been critical of Mayor Dy and other
members of the Dy family serving as elected officials in the area.
On June 10, the day after the official elections period ended in the Philippines,
the mayor's office ordered the stations closed again. Sabigan told CPJ
that Bombo Radyo officials had applied in May for a court injunction blocking
the mayor's office from issuing another closure order. The petition is
still pending in the local Appeals Court, Sabigan said.
JUNE 8, 2004
Posted: June 16, 2004
Cirse Torralba (a.k.a. Choy Torralba), DYAR Angel Radio
An unidentified assailant shot at Torralba, a veteran radio commentator
and producer for DYAR Angel Radio, in an apparent assassination attempt
outside the radio station in Cebu City, Cebu Province. Angel Radio is
run by the Nation Broadcasting Corporation, a private network.
According to local news reports, Torralba sustained three injuries in
his left arm and shoulder before he shot back with his own gun, missing
his assailant but forcing him to flee the scene. Torralba was rushed to
a local hospital, where his condition stabilized.
Torralba is known as a hard-hitting commentator and has frequently denounced
local drug cartels and political corruption. Local journalists have linked
the attack to Torralba's work as a commentator, according to articles
and editorials in local newspapers.
The police have launched an investigation and are looking into other possible
motives, including the broadcaster's political activity. Torralba worked
as a campaign manager for Loren Legarda, who ran as an opposition candidate
for vice president in national elections in May.
On June 10, local police arrested a suspect in the shooting. Mario Monilar,
police homicide section chief, told the Cebu-based daily Freeman
that the police were investigating the possibility that the motive behind
the attack involved an alleged former girlfriend of Torralba's. Torralba
denied that he had had a relationship with the woman in question, the
JUNE 17, 2004
Posted: June 17, 2004
Updated: August 16, 2004
Updated August 25, 2004
Eliseo ("Ely") Binoya, Radyo Natin
Binoya, a radio commentator and local station manager with Radyo Natin,
was gunned down outside the port city General Santos, on the southern
island of Mindanao, according to local news reports. Binoya was known
for his pointed political commentaries on air.
Binoya was on his way home in the afternoon when two gunmen on a motorcycle
ambushed him along a highway on the outskirts of the city. The assailants
chased down Binoya, who was also riding a motorcycle, and shot him several
times from behind. The shots killed him instantly, according to news reports.
The gunmen then fled the scene.
General Santos Police Chief Willie Dangane said that Binoya had made enemies
among politicians in the southern town of Malungon, where his station
is based, and that he had been beaten the week before his killing, according
to The Associated Press.
In early August, the General Santos City Prosecutor's Office found "probable
cause for murder qualified by treachery and evident premeditation" against
local political leader Ephraim "Toto" Englis, and identified two other
individuals allegedly involved in the killing, according to the Center
for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), a local press freedom organization.
Englis and a second suspect, Alfonso Tuquero, surrendered to local police
on August 23, and Dangane initiated the filing of murder charges against
the two, according to The Philippine Star. In his broadcasts, Binoya
had accused Englis of bribery, according to CMFR. Englis and Tuquero denied
involvement in the slaying.
Local journalist groups condemned Binoya's murder and called for an end
to violence against the press.
JULY 31, 2004
Updated: September 14, 2004
Rogelio "Roger" Mariano, Radyo Natin-Aksyon Radyo
Mariano, a commentator for Radyo Natin-Aksyon Radyo, was fatally shot
by unidentified gunmen in Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte Province,
according to news reports.
Mariano was riding his motorcycle home after completing a broadcast at
DZJC Radyo Natin-Aksyon Radyo when assailants shot him several times in
the back and head.
Local journalists believe that Mariano's death was connected to his hard-hitting
commentaries. The veteran broadcaster's final program denounced illegal
jueteng gambling operations in the city, as well as financial irregularities
in the local electric cooperative. Ilocos Norte police are investigating.
AUGUST 5, 2004
Posted: August 27, 2004
Arnel Manalo, Bulgar and DZRH Radio
Gunmen ambushed and killed Manalo, 42, a correspondent for the Manila
tabloid Bulgar and radio station DZRH, in the morning, shortly
after he dropped off his children at school, according to international
news reports and local journalists.
Two men on a motorcycle shot Manalo three times at 7:15 a.m. while he
was returning home in Bauan, Batangas Province, about 60 miles (100 kilometers)
south of the capital, Manila, according to news reports. Manalo was pronounced
dead at a local hospital.
On August 26, police arrested suspected gunman Michael Garcia, according
to local news reports. Police believe that Garcia was hired by local political
leader Tony Mendoza, who has not yet been charged with murder.
The journalist's brother Apollo Manalo was riding in the victim's car
when he was killed. Police filed charges against Garcia after Apollo identified
the suspect from police records, according to local news reports.
Police suspect that Manalo was killed for his reporting on Mendoza, according
to local news reports.
The Philippines is one of the world's most dangerous places to be a journalist.
Since the Philippines became a democracy in 1986, forty-five journalists
have been killed for their work.
AUGUST 12, 2004
Posted: August 16, 2004
Fernando Consignado, Radio Veritas
Consignado, a correspondent with the Manila-based Radio Veritas, was found
dead in his home in the town of Nagcarlan, 47 miles (75 kilometers) south
of the capital, Manila, according to local news reports. The journalist
died of a single gunshot wound to the head, according to police investigators.
CPJ is investigating whether his murder was tied to his work as a journalist.
Consignado, 50, was a vegetable farmer and a reporter on community affairs
for the Roman Catholic radio station. Colleagues at Radio Veritas said
Consignado's slaying might have been related to his reporting a few years
ago on illegal gambling and anomalies in local road construction projects,
according to a local news report. Police also cited Consignado's recent
involvement in a land dispute as a possible motive behind his death and
said that he was overheard arguing with an unnamed relative shortly before
a neighbor found him dead, according to local news reports. No suspects
have been identified.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2004
Posted: October 19, 2004
Romeo (or Romy) Binungcal, Remate and Bulgar
Binungcal, a correspondent for two national Manila-based tabloids, Remate
and Bulgar, was killed while riding home on his motorcycle
in Bataan Province, in the central Luzon Region. Unidentified gunmen fired
five shots at close range, according to local and international news reports.
Local journalists say his murder came in retaliation for his reporting
on corrupt provincial police. Sources tell CPJ that the murder may have
been committed on the orders of local police officers who lost their jobs
as a result of Binungcal's reporting
The reporter, identified as either Romeo or Romy Binungcal in press accounts,
was the former editor of the local Mt. Samat Weekly Forum.
Police told local reporters that there is no known motive for the killing,
but that they have launched an investigation. Binungcal was a businessman
in addition to working as a journalist, but he was well-known for his
reporting on corrupt officials. According to CPJ research, Binungcal was
the fifth journalist killed in the line of duty in the Philippines in
OCTOBER 19, 2004
Updated: November 4, 2004
Eldy Sablas (also known as Eldy Gabinales), Radio DXJR-FM
An unidentified assailant shot Sablas three times from behind about 10
a.m. as the radio commentator rode a three-wheeled motorcycle away from
a supermarket in Surigao del Sur Province on the southern island of Mindanao.
Local sources told CPJ that Sablas was likely killed in retaliation for
his hard-hitting commentary about illegal gambling.
Sablas, who hosted "Singgit sa mga Lungsuranon" ("Cry of the People")
on Radio DXJR-FM, was known as a strident critic of both gambling and
the drug trade. Regional Police Chief Rene Elumbaring told The Associated
Press that police were investigating the murder, which occurred in the
town of Tandag, 510 miles (820 kilometers) southeast of Manila.
NOVEMBER 12, 2004
Posted: November 15, 2004
Gene Boyd Lumawag, MindaNews
An unidentified gunman shot photographer Lumawag, of the MindaNews news
service, in the head, killing him instantly in Jolo, the capital of the
southern Sulu Province.
At dusk that day, Lumawag went to the pier in Jolo to take a picture of
the sunset on the last day of Ramadan in the Muslim-majority area when
he was shot and killed by a single bullet wound to the head, according
to local news accounts. Lumawag, 26, had traveled to Jolo with another
reporter on November 10 to work on a video documentary about transparency
and local governing practices for the U.S.-based Asia Foundation.
Sulu Province, comprising a group of islands 310 miles (500 kilometers)
south of the capital, Manila, has a Muslim-majority population and is
a bastion for the Islamic separatist group Abu Sayyaf, The Associated
Press reported. Abu Sayyaf has been linked to the international terrorist
group al-Qaeda and has made headlines in recent years with high-profile
kidnappings for ransom. The island province is also a stronghold for Jemaah
Islamiah, another militant Islamic separatist group suspected of masterminding
the 2002 Bali bombing that is linked to Abu Sayyaf, according to local
The exact motive for Lumawag's murder was unclear, and local police and
army spokesmen put forward different theories. Army investigators told
Mindanews chairwoman Carolyn Arguillas, who had accompanied Lumawag, that
they suspected Abu Sayyaf members were responsible for the killing. The
head of the local antiterrorism unit, Brig. Gen. Agustin Dema-ala, also
claimed in local news reports that the gunman's description matched that
of a wanted local Abu Sayyaf operative.
But in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, local police
head, Chief Superintendent Vidal Querol, said that the corruption story
the two journalists were pursuing was the likely motive. Local news accounts
also speculated that Lumawag might have been mistaken as a spy or member
of the military because the clothes he had on that day resembled fatigues,
and the fact that he spoke Filipino instead of the local Tausig language.
According to CPJ research, six other journalists have been killed in the
line of duty in the Philippines so far this year, more than in any other
country except Iraq. Forty-seven journalists have been murdered
in the Philippines since the country became a democracy in 1986, and no
one has been convicted in any of these cases.
NOVEMBER 16, 2004
Posted: November 15, 2004
Herson Hinolan, Bombo Radiyo
Hinolan, station manager and commentator from Bombo Radiyo in Kalibo in
the central Aklan Province, was fatally injured night when he was shot
in the abdomen and arms in the restroom of a local store, police told
Although no motive has been determined yet in the murder, Hinolan was
known as a "hard-hitting commentator," local Chief Superintendent George
Alino told Agence France-Presse. In a statement, Bombo Radyo managers
accused "assassins" of "killing the messenger who is tasked to serve the
public by way of exposing the truth." The station offered a reward for
any information leading to the identification or capture of those responsible
for Hinolan's murder.
CPJ is investigating Hinolan's death to determine if he was killed for
his work as a journalist.
NOVEMBER 27, 2004
Posted: November 29, 2004
Allan Dizon, The Freeman and Banat
Dizon, a photographer for the English-language newspaper The Freeman
and a correspondent for the local tabloid Banat, was shot and killed
in Cebu City. CPJ is seeking to determine whether the journalist's murder
was related to his work.
Dizon, 31, was shot in the head and chest near a car wash in Cebu City
in central Philippines, about 350 miles (565 kilometers) south of Manila,
according to local news reports. The unidentified gunman fired at point-blank
range, and shot again as Dizon tried to run away. The journalist died
just before 8:30 p.m. at Cebu City Medical Center, according to news reports.
Police have ascribed no motive in the killing, although local sources
told CPJ that the murder may be related to Dizon's reporting on illegal
Dizon's wife, Amelina, told local reporters that the journalist had not
received any threats before his death. Colleagues said Dizon appeared
preoccupied before leaving his office, and police are investigating text
messages on the journalist's cell phone indicating that he had planned
to meet someone he knew at the car wash, according to news reports.
In the days following Dizon's murder, the offices of The Freeman
received two phone calls threatening other journalists at the newspaper,
according to news reports.
NOVEMBER 27, 2004
Posted: December 02, 2004
Stephen Omaois, Guru Press
Omaois’ body was found in a garbage bin on the outskirts of Tabuk in remote Kalinga Province. Police believe Omaois, 24, was bludgeoned to death, according to international news reports.
Omaois, a writer for the community newspaper Guru Press, had been reporting on a public works project in the town of Pinukpok, according to the Philippine Inquirer, quoting Guru Press editor Estafania Kollin. The Inquirer reported that staff members at Guru Press had received threats related to the story, and that Omaois may have been targeted because he was “vulnerable.”
The Inquirer reported that Omaois’ body showed evidence of torture. Police have not determined a motive in the killing, but are investigating relatives’ claims that Omaois was abducted on the day before he was killed, according to Agence France-Presse. The Committee to Protect Journalists is seeking to determine whether Omaois’ murder was connected to his reporting.
It was not immediately clear what Omaois had written about the Pinukpok project. Omaois was also a broadcast journalist for government-run radio DZRK.
Kalinga Province is an isolated and mountainous region about 200 miles (330 kilometers) north of Manila. Populated by several indigenous tribal communities, it has been the breeding ground for a low-level Communist insurgency.