Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the murder of public radio reporter Carmelo Palacios in the northern province of Nueva Ecija on 17 April and a shooting attack south of Manilla yesterday on Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Delfin Mallari and radio DZMM reporter Johnny Glorioso, in which Mallari was injured. Police said Palacios’ murder was probably linked to his work as a journalist.
"We call on the competent authorities, especially the police chief and justice department, to ensure that both of these cases are properly investigated," Reporters Without Borders said. "After the Melo Commission report and the UN Human Rights Council’ investigations, with their damning conclusions for the Philippine government, those responsible for these attacks must be identified and punished. If they turn out to be members of the security forces, we urge the government to take additional measures to put a stop to this kind of abuse."
Aged 41, Palacios worked for public-owned dzRB Radio ng Bayan. His body was found yesterday in Santa Rosa, in Nueva Ecija province, with bullet wounds to the head, many facial fractures, and injuries to the body. He was known for reporting on corruption and, at the time of his death, was investigating cases of abuse of authority by local officials and policemen. As a Citizens Crime Watch activist, he had also helped the police track down criminals.
Witnesses said he went to the Cabanatuan City police station on 17 April and spent several hours there. He then left with a friend to an unknown destination. Witnesses said his body was dumped there from an unidentified car which immediately took off.
Mallari and Glorioso were fired on by two men aboard a motorcycle as they were driving to radio DWKI, a local station south of Manila. Mallari, 53, was hit in the leg and was rushed to hospital. Glorioso was unhurt. Mallari, who also edits a local newspaper, Ang Dyaryo Natin, and is known for covering illegal logging and drug trafficking, said he had received death threats. Both journalists said they thought they knew who was responsible for the shooting but they refused to name him.