Radio journalist killed in the Philippines

Bangkok, June 10, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Filipino authorities to determine the motive in the murder on Monday of radio journalist Nilo Baculo Sr. and bring the assailants swiftly to justice.

Baculo was shot twice in the chest around noon on Monday by two assailants on a motorcycle in Mindoro Oriental province’s Calapan City, according to news reports. The assailants fled on the motorcycle, the reports said.

Baculo was an anchorman for dwIM Radyo Mindoro where his program often addressed sensitive issues, according to news reports citing local press freedom groups. However, other reports, citing police, said he was no longer employed as a journalist at the time of his death. CPJ was not immediately able to reach dwIM Radyo Mindoro by phone or email.

Baculo was declared dead on arrival at Maria Estrella Hospital, the Philippine Inquirer reported. Leo de Leon, a fellow reporter and witness to the crime, said Baculo was shot approximately 500 meters away from his house, according to the same report. De Leon said Baculo had received several anonymous death threats before his killing.

In February 2008, Baculo petitioned the Supreme Court for a temporary protection order after elected officials he alleged in his reporting were involved in illegal drug trafficking launched an assassination plot against him, according to news reports. In June that year, a Court of Appeals denied his request on the basis that he failed to prove that his life was at risk, the reports said. It was not immediately clear if Baculo’s murder was related to the death threat he allegedly received in 2008.

Superintendent Glicerio Cansilao said police were investigating to identify suspects and determine a motive for the crime, according to local news reports.

“The killing of radio reporter Nilo Baculo underscores the fact that the Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “We call on Filipino authorities to identify and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.”

More journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work in the Philippines than in any country save Iraq since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992. The Philippines ranks third on CPJ’s Impunity Index, a global measure of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.