New York, February 18, 2016 — Authorities in the Philippines should swiftly bring to justice the killers of radio reporter Elvis Banggoy Ordaniza, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ordaniza was shot and killed on Tuesday in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, on the country’s southernmost main island of Mindanao, according to news reports.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Ordaniza, 49, a reporter for radio station dxWO Power99 FM in Pitogo, was killed by two bullets to the chest while preparing dinner at his home near the small town of Poblacion. Ordaniza was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival, NUJP reported. An early police report also said witnesses saw only one gunman, according to the organization.
“Elvis Ordaniza’s murder is the most recent in a long chain of killings in the Philippines, making it one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Police must investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice.”
Citing Ordaniza’s colleagues, news media reported that Ordaniza had returned to civilian life after membership in the New People’s Army (NPA), and had been reporting on the illegal drug trade and illegal gambling in Zamboanga. The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a low-intensity insurrection since 1969. It was not clear when Ordaniza left the group.
Police regional Chief Superintendent Miguel Antonio ordered a thorough investigation to determine the motive of the killing, according to press reports.
Ordaniza is the first journalist killing that CPJ has documented this year in the Philippines. In 2015, seven were killed, according to CPJ research. Partially due to the lack of prosecutions, CPJ has been unable to confirm whether any of the killings were directly related to journalistic work, and continues to investigate. The Philippines ranks fourth on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Paragraphs four and five of this text have been modified to provide further detail and to clarify police comments to the press.