Reporters Without Borders expressed horror today at the murder on 3 July of radio presenter Rolando "Dodong" Morales, of the station DXMD, in southern Mindanao, and said it confirmed a report by the organisation in May that those who ordered the killing of journalists enjoyed total impunity in the Philippines, along with many of those who carried out the crime.
Eight gunmen on motorcycles attacked Morales, 43, near the town of Polomolok shortly after he had finished presenting his programme "Tingog sa Barangay" (The Voice of Barangay). The journalist was also riding a motorcycle. The killers continued firing at him as he lay on the ground, witnesses said. His body contained 15 bullets.
The motive for the attack was unclear but a week earlier, Morales had fiercely criticised drug traffickers in the region and received death threats, a colleague said.
The Reporters Without Borders 2 May report on the Philippines noted that the instigators of the 2002 murder of journalist Edgar Damalerio, who had also criticised drug traffickers, had never been arrested and that while the authorities boasted they had solved half of all murders, they had not managed to stem the wave of killings of journalists since the return of democracy in 1986. The worldwide press freedom organisation deplored the fact that all the government’s promises had remained just words.
Morales is the fifth journalist killed in the Philippines this year apparently for doing his job.