Third Philippine journalist killed in one week

New York, June 21, 2010—Newspaper reporter Nestor Bedolido was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman on Saturday evening in Digos City, Davao del Sur province, in the southern Philippines, according to local and international news reports. He is the third journalist to be murdered over the past week in the Philippines.

Bedolido, 50, a reporter with The Kastigador weekly newspaper, was shot six times outside of a Digos City karaoke bar while he was buying cigarettes, according to local news reports. The assailant escaped on a motorcycle driven by an unidentified accomplice, and Bedolido was pronounced dead on arrival at the local Gonzales Hospital, according to the reports.

The journalist’s son, Marxlen Bedolido, 22, told reporters that he believed that his father’s murder was politically motivated. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported today that “Bedolido was suspected of writing exposés against a politician in Davao del Sur” during the May general elections. Police Chief Inspector Anthony Padua said that authorities were investigating possible motives and the identities of the gunman and motorcycle-driving accomplice.

“We urge the authorities to quickly bring the perpetrators of Nestor Bedolido’s murder to justice,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “The murder of three journalists in one week underscores the urgency with which President-elect Benigno Aquino must act to reverse the outrageous trend of media killings in the Philippines.”

On June 14, radio broadcaster Desidario Camangyan was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman while hosting a village singing contest in Manay town, in the southern province of Davao Oriental. Gunmen fatally shot radio reporter Joselito Agustin the next day while he was riding his motorcycle home from his station in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte province. CPJ is investigating possible motives in those two murders.

CPJ sent a letter to Aquino on June 9, calling upon him to take measures to break the high rate of impunity in media killings during outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tenure. The Philippines placed third on CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index, a list of countries that consistently fail to address journalist killings.