Reporters Without Borders today strongly deplored the murder of a radio journalist and the serious wounding of another in separate street attacks and urged the government to end the cycle of violence against journalists and the impunity that routinely protects their aggressors.
It called for an investigation into the killing on 28 April of John Villanueva, of the radio station dzGB-AM, in Legapzi (south of Manila), by two mystery gunmen as he was returning home on his motorcycle and was just 200 yards from his house in the town of Camalig. He was hit in the liver and died an hour later at the Bicol regional hospital. Officials said he was suspected of supporting the country’s communist guerrillas.
The next day, in the southern city of Davao, Juan Porras Pala, of the radio station dxGO, was shot at by the occupants of a black van as he was travelling to work in a taxi with his three bodyguards, who fired back and forced the attackers to flee. Pala was wounded and taken to hospital. In 2001, he had been ambushed in a similar manner and has had bodyguards ever since.
Pala, who has a daily radio programme, is a fierce critic of the communist guerrillas. He said he suspected an unnamed group of policemen was behind the attack.
39 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since the return of democracy in 1986, making the country one of the world’s most dangerous for journalists.