Another radio journalist killed in the Philippines

New York, June 16, 2010Philippine radio commentator Joselito Agustin was fatally shot by two motorcycle riding assailants while heading home from work late Tuesday evening near Baccara town in the northern Philippines, according to local and international news reports. The murder occurred just one day after the murder of radio journalist Desidario Camangyan in southern Mindanao.

Agustin died from four gunshot wounds on early Wednesday morning at a local hospital, the news reports said. Agustin, 37, a broadcaster with the DZJC Aksyon Radyo-Laoag station, was known for his scathing on-air commentaries against official corruption and other illegal activities, according to news reports. His nephew, who was riding pillion on Agustin’s motorcycle when he was shot, survived a gunshot wound to his leg, according to the reports.

On May 7, Agustin’s house was sprayed with gunfire by unidentified assailants, according to news reports. Nobody was injured in that unclaimed attack, the reports said. 

The Associated Press quoted Nick Malasig, one of Agustin’s DZJC radio station colleagues, saying that Agustin had received text message death threats in the weeks before his murder. Malasig said he suspected an unnamed local politician that Agustin often criticized on-air might be responsible for his murder, according to AP.

National police spokesman Leonardo Espina said that authorities were investigating to determine whether Agustin’s murder was work-related, according to Reuters.

“The outgoing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government failed to uproot the culture of impunity in the murders of journalists,” said Shawn Crispin , CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “We urge President-elect Benigno Arroyo to take a more assertive and hands-on approach to reverse this disturbing trend, and ensure that the murder of Joselito Agustin not go unsolved.”

Radio journalist Desidario Camangyan was killed by unidentified gunmen on late Monday evening in Manay town in the southern province of Davao Oriental . CPJ is investigating if his murder was work-related.

On June 9, CPJ addressed a letter to President-elect Benigno Aquino calling on him to take measures to quell the high rate of impunity in media killings during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tenure. The Philippines placed third on CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index, a statistically derived list of global countries which consistently fail to address journalist killings.