New York, November 17, 2008--A gunman on a motorcycle shot radio commentator
Arecio Padrigao in southern Gingoog city today, according to international news
reports. The journalist died en route to the hospital.
The reports said the gunman fired on Padrigao, a commentator
for Radyo Natin, outside Gingoog's Bukidnon
in Misamis Oriental province on the southern island of Mindanao.
Several reports said the man targeted Padrigao while he was dropping his child off
at school. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said two assailants may
have been involved.
The union said Padrigao had received death threats just days
before in connection with his radio program "Sayre ang Katilingban" (Know the
Society). The commentator had criticized corruption and illegal logging in his
broadcasts, news reports said. Police told journalists they were still
investigating the motive for the murder.
"We are deeply concerned that Arecio Padrigao may be the
latest in the growing toll of Philippine journalists slain for their work,"
said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "The aura of impunity
surrounding these attacks on journalists is the government's fault. As long as authorities
continue in their failure to prosecute those responsible for such killings, journalists
will be seen as easy targets."
radio broadcasters were gunned down in separate incidents in the Philippines
in August this year. Dennis Cuesta was fatally wounded after a shooting attack
near a shopping mall in General Santos City, Mindanao, for his hard-hitting reports on local
corruption, drugs, and illegal gambling. Martin Roxas died in a hospital in
central Capiz from a bullet wound to the spine when he was shot while leaving
Two print journalists were also shot dead by
motorcycle-riding gunmen this year. CPJ is investigating the motives in those
cases. In April, Benefredo
Acabal succumbed to five gunshot wounds before reaching the hospital in Manila. Gunmen murdered Bert
Sison and wounded his daughter in their car in Sariaya town, southeast of Manila, in July.
CPJ has launched a global campaign to combat impunity
in unsolved journalist murders, focusing initially on the Philippines and Russia.