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2009
22 Journalists killed
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Since 1 January
Media assistants killed :
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143 Journalists imprisoned
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Philippines

Bonifacio Gregorio, Dyaryo Banat
8 July 2003

Gregorio, 55, was shot three times in the head outside his home in the village of Caramutan (in Tarlac province, 150 kms north of Manila) by a gunman who made off. He died after being taken to Ramos general hospital.

The former chief of his village, Gregorio had worked for the local weekly Dyaryo Banat (Newspaper Attack) since 1997. He wrote articles that were very critical of La Paz mayor Dioisio Manuel and had recently accused him of illegally transforming a rice paddy into a cemetery that was inaugurated the day he was killed. His widow, Gertrudes, said she had asked her husband to stop investigating stories that angered the local authorities. The mayor has denied any involvement in the killing.

The Tarlac news media association, which Gregorio belonged to, said his murder was a "spine-chilling message" to the press. Journalist Abel Pablo, who was in the middle of a telephone conversation with Gregorio when he was killed, has challenged the local police authorities to shed light on every aspect of the murder.

The provincial police chief has created a special task force to work on the Gregorio murder with the criminal investigations department. Shortly after the shooting, a police officer said it was the work of a contract killer. The task force’s head has suspended La Paz police chief Rodrigo de Guzman, who was known for his hostility towards Gregorio.

A police officer announced on 22 July that the police were on the heels of two gangs of killers, but refused to name any suspects. He also said the police were checking out a range of possible motives, including the possibility that the murder was a settling of scores stemming from Gregorio’s extra-marital affairs. Two former mistresses are reportedly among those who have been questioned.