Reporters Without Borders condemned the murder of radio presenter, Eldy Gabinales, who was shot dead in Tandag, on Mindanao island, in the south of the country. He is the eighth journalist to be murdered in 2004.
Gabinales, also known as Eldy Sablas, worked for DXJR-FM radio. Witnesses said he was coming out of a shop on 19 October when a motorbike pillion passenger opened fire, shooting him three times in the back and the head. Both men escaped and there have been no arrests.
The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the Philippines government to do everything possible to shed light on the case. "We urge you to set up an "Eldy Gabinales Task Force" with the financial resources to carry out a thorough investigation," it said in a letter to Interior and Local Government Secretary, Angelo Reyes.
One of Gabinales’s radio colleagues Arnel Espadera, said that he had been working between February and April 2004 for the programme "Enkwentro" (Encounters) and "Bakres" broadcasting in Tandag, in Surigao province. He then took a break from the radio before returning to co-present "Singgit sa mga Lungsuranon" (Complaints from citizens). He had in particular exposed drug trafficking and illegal gaming in the town.
In between radio work, Gabinales was one of those responsible for the security of Surigao provincial governor, Vicente Pimentel, during senate elections in May.
Police have said they do not yet know the motives for the killing. "No likely leads should be ruled out at this stage," Reporters Without Borders told the interior minister.
Eight journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1st January 2004. After Iraq, it is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists. A total of seven were murdered while doing their job in the Philippines during 2003.