Radio journalist killed

New York, June 17, 2004—Eliseo (“Ely”) Binoya, a radio commentator with Radyo Natin, was gunned down by unidentified assailants today outside of the port city General Santos, on the southern island of Mindanao, according to international news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is investigating whether the murder was related to Binoya’s journalistic work.

Binoya was on his way home this afternoon when he was ambushed by two gunmen on a motorcycle along a highway at 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.

According to local journalists, Binoya’s assassination may have been tied to his pointed radio commentaries. The local police have launched an investigation. Willie Dangane, the General Santos police chief, 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 up just last week, according to The Associated Press.

Binoya is the second journalist to be murdered in the Philippines so far this year. In February, Ruel Endrinal, a commentator on radio station DZRC was shot and killed in Legazpi City, Albay Province, in the eastern Philippines. Local journalist groups condemned Binoya’s murder and called for an end to violence against the press.

Since democracy was restored in the Philippines in 1986, 43 journalists have been assassinated for their work, including five in 2003, according to CPJ records. No one has been prosecuted for any of these murders.

“The Philippines cannot claim to be a country that respects press freedom while journalists are killed with impunity,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ. “We call on Philippine authorities to investigate Ely Binoya’s murder and bring those responsible to justice.”