Two surrender in investigation into journalist’s murder

New York, August 24, 2004—Two suspects in the June killing of Radyo Natin journalist Eliseo “Ely” Binoya surrendered to local police today, according to local news reports. The suspects include Ephraim “Toto” Englis, a former police officer and local political leader suspected of masterminding the killing, according to news reports.

General Santos City Police Chief Willie Dangane has initiated the filing of murder charges against Englis and the second suspect, Alfonso Tuquero, according to The Philippine Star. Englis and Tuquero have denied involvement in the slaying.

Binoya, a commentator and station manager, was on his way home on June 17 when he was ambushed by two gunmen on a motorcycle along a highway on the outskirts of General Santos 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.

Binoya was known for his pointed political commentaries and had accused Englis of bribery, according to the press freedom group, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

In early August, the General Santos City Prosecutor’s Office found “probable cause for murder qualified by treachery and evident premeditation” against Englis, and identified two other individuals allegedly involved in the killing, according to CMFR.

Local journalist groups welcomed the surrender of the two men. Local media members, who formed a task force to investigate the killing of Binoya and other journalists in the region, have been cooperating with the Philippine National Police to solve the cases.

CPJ is currently investigating the murders of five journalists, all of them radio commentators, killed there in 2004. According to CPJ research, the Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. Binoya is one of 44 journalists killed for their work since the nation became a democracy in 1986.