Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm about the plight of the media after Vincent Sumalpong, a presenter on state-owned Radyo ng Bayan, was gunned down this morning in Bongao, the capital of the southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi. A colleague, Ruelan Hope Borja, was wounded by the hail of bullets. Sumalpong was the fourth journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines.
The police said witnesses identified a suspect, Nur Suang, from photos. Suang, who has not yet been arrested, is also a suspect in the murder of a public relations officer that Sumalpong had investigated. The identity of the possible mastermind is still unknown.
"The identification of a suspect should encourage the police and judicial authorities to cooperate closely to ensure that this is an exemplary investigation," Reporters Without Borders said. "The murderer and any instigators must without fail be arrested and brought to trial."
Reporters Without Borders regards the Philippines as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press after Iraq. At least 53 journalists have been killed there since Gloria Arroyo took over as president in 1991.