Fernando Batul

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:
Batul, 37, a radio commentator with DZRH and DYPR radio, was shot six times by motorcycle-riding gunmen while he was driving to work in the provincial town of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan.

Police Officer Aaron Madamay Golifardo was charged in the murder two days later, after being identified by eyewitnesses, according to news reports. In a May 11 broadcast, Batul had criticized Golifardo for allegedly showing a weapon during a disagreement with a waitress in a karaoke bar, according to news reports. Hearings in Golifardo's trial began in September. The other person on the motorcycle was not immediately identified.

Batul, a former vice mayor, was also highly critical of city government, and his reporting often touched on alleged government corruption and nepotism. In April, two unexploded hand grenades and a threatening letter were left at Batul's home, according to news reports and CPJ sources. The letter demanded that Batul stop his critical radio broadcasts, and he later told National Bureau of Investigation officials that he thought local police were behind the threat. He also sent text messages and spoke with media colleagues about the threat, CPJ sources said.

Two local journalists who worked with Batul and who were investigating his murder told CPJ that they had been threatened. In June 2006, they said, they fled Palawan due to concerns about their safety.

In April 2011, a Palawan Regional Court Judge acquitted Golifardo in the murder, according to news reports.

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