New York, January 24, 2011–Police in southern Palawan province must thoroughly investigate the motives behind today’s murder of Philippine radio broadcaster Gerardo Ortega, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
A gunman shot Ortega, host of a talk show on DWAR, in the back of the head as the journalist was shopping in a Puerto Princesa City clothing store shortly after his morning broadcast, according to local and international news reports. The news outlet ABS-CBN said police arrested a suspect, who told officers his motive was robbery.
Ortega, 47, had received recent death threats from an unknown source, according to The Associated Press. The journalist had criticized local officials accused of corruption and had opposed provincial mining projects, news reports said. A former veterinarian who headed an institute for breeding crocodiles, Ortega was also involved in local politics, news reports said. CPJ is investigating whether his murder was related to his journalism.
The Philippines placed third on CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. It calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. CPJ is waging a Global Campaign Against Impunity that focusing closely on Russia and the Philippines.