Radio commentator killed

New York, August 3, 2004—Rogelio “Roger” Mariano, a commentator for Radyo Natin-Aksyon Radyo, was fatally shot by unidentified gunmen on Saturday, July 31, in Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte Province, Philippines, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is investigating the motives behind his murder to determine whether they were related to his journalistic work.

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 may have been connected to his hard-hitting commentaries. The veteran broadcaster’s Saturday program denounced illegal jueteng gambling operations in the city, as well as financial irregularities in the local electric cooperative. Ilocos Norte police have launched an investigation into the murder.

Since 1986, forty-three journalists in the Philippines have been assassinated for their work , according to CPJ records. No one has yet been prosecuted for any of these killings.

“Philippine authorities must act to end a culture of impunity that has made it unsafe for journalists to work,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “We call on the government to conduct a thorough investigation of the murder of Roger Mariano, and to prosecute the killers.”