Radio journalist wounded in Philippine shooting

New York, July 26, 2007–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Wednesday’s shooting of radio journalist and station manager Ferdinand “Bambi” Yngson in Sagay City, on the central island of Negros. Yngson was on his way to work when he was shot in the left arm, according to news reports.

“We are appalled at this vicious assault, and call for Ferdinand Yngson’s attacker to be brought to swift justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, who is in the Philippines this week to urge the government to act against impunity in the murders of journalists.

Yngson, 46, is host of a daily noontime program and manager of station RGMA-Bacolod. Police arrested a suspect identified as Romeo Corbo, an official at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), as he fled the crime scene, according to international and local news reports. Yngson had accused the LTO of corruption on his radio show, but police told reporters that a personal dispute could also have been a factor in the attack. 

The journalist’s wife told local reporters that Yngson had been a vocal critic of “under the table transactions” at the LTO. The victim reported that Corbo cursed at him during the attack and shouted, “You keep attacking the LTO,” the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) reported.

Yngson was taken immediately to a hospital in Sagay City and later transferred to another local hospital after his condition stabilized. The victim’s wife was present during the assault but emerged unharmed, according to Agence France-Presse.

A national police task force, created in May 2006 to address killings of journalists and other extrajudicial killings, expects to charge Corbo with attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm, the group’s commander, Geary Barias, told reporters.

Thirty-two journalists have been killed for their work in the Philippines since 1992, making it the world’s fifth deadliest nation for journalists, according to CPJ research. The shooting occurred the day before Reynato S. Puno, chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, met with a CPJ delegation and pledged to use his authority to protect press freedom.