Philippines: Radio broadcaster killed in Mindanao

New York, July 18, 2006—Two unidentified gunmen killed broadcaster Armando Pace as he returned home today after hosting his radio program in the city of Digos on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating to determine whether he was killed in relation to his work.

Pace, 51, was shot in the head and chest shortly after 1p.m. as he rode his motorcycle along a busy road, police told reporters. His attackers fled by motorcycle, and Pace died a few minutes after arriving at a local hospital.

Pace leased blocks of airtime from Radyo Ukay dxDS. He was known for his critical commentaries on local politicians and drug use in his home province, according to international and local media reports.

Investigators have retrieved tapes of his final radio program, police told reporters.

Police chief Cesar Cabuhat told The Associated Press that the killing could have been “a personal or work-related crime.”

“We are saddened by the murder of Armando Pace and call for a thorough investigation into his killing,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Philippine authorities must bring the murderers of journalists to justice, or the killings will continue.”

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Twenty-three journalists were killed for their work there between 2000 and 2005. In a May 15 letter to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, CPJ noted that there has been just one conviction in these murders. Read the letter.