New York, July 1, 2016– Philippine authorities should credibly investigate Thursday’s shooting of a Filipino journalist and his son outside their home in Surigao City, Mindinao, and bring the gunmen to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two assailants riding a motorcycle shot Saturnino “Jan” Estanio three times in the back, according to a statement by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. His 12-year-old son was also hit, according to news reports. Estanio is an anchor for a nightly program that features a public-affairs segment on Radio Mindanao Network, the country’s largest radio network.
Estanio drove himself and his son to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, Estanio told The Philippine Daily Inquirer, an English-language daily. A hospital worker told the newspaper that the son was in critical condition on Thursday night, but by Friday his condition had improved, and he was in stable condition, the daily Sun Star newspaper reported.
“We call on the newly elected government of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure that authorities conduct a swift and thorough investigation into this brutal attack on Saturnino Estanio and his son, and that they bring the perpetrators to justice,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler. “Successive Philippine governments have failed to reverse the country’s long history of violence against the press. President Duterte could have a different legacy, but he needs to start now.”
In recent broadcasts, Estanio had criticized illegal gambling, illicit drugs, and alleged corruption in local government agencies, according to reports citing Jocelyn Ferol, program director of the radio station. Estanio told The Philippine Daily Inquirer that three days before the attack, an individual had threatened him regarding his coverage of illegal gambling machines in Surigao City.
At least 77 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1992, when CPJ began keeping records, making the Philippines the third deadliest country in the world for the press. The Philippines ranks fourth on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free.