Reporters Without Borders condemned the murder of Hernani Pastolero, the editor of the Lightning Courier weekly, who was gunned down on the southern island of Mindanao today while a UN delegation was in the country to investigate the wave of murders of journalists that began in 2001.
“Pastolero is the first journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines, where several journalists are unfortunately murdered each year,” the press freedom organisation said. “It is time the government put an end to the impunity enjoyed by those responsible by trying to identify them and bring them to justice.”
Pastolero, 64, was shot twice in the head while at home in the town of Sultan Kudarat, on Mindanao. Nothing is known about the murderer’s identity or probable motive. The police officer in charge of investigating the killing, Ismael Mama, said he would try to compile a list of Pastolero’s enemies. Pastolero’s family said he had not received any threats.
A UN representative, Philip Alston, is currently in the city of Davao, on Mindanao island, to meet the families and colleagues of journalists killed in recent years. His visit was organised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the request of the victims’ families, who refused to cooperate with a government delegation.