Aug 312013
Malacañang on Saturday condemned the killing of a radio commentator in Iligan City on Thursday, even as it reiterated it will not tolerate media-related killings.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace will “coordinate” with the Philippine National Police to see if it has gathered leads on the killing of Fernando Solijon.

“Hindi natin tino-tolerate at… kinokondena natin ang nangyayari laban sa media practitioners (We do not tolerate media killings and we condemn this latest incident),” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.

On the other hand, an international media watchdog group urged the government to take action.

“How many more journalists must be killed before President Benigno Aquino makes a genuine commitment to ending the cycle of impunity in media murders in the Philippines?” said Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin.

“We call on the government to quickly establish the motive behind Fernando Solijon’s killing and bring his killers to justice,” he added.

New York-based CPJ noted Solijon was the fourth journalist to be murdered in the Philippines in the past month.

It urged authorities to investigate the murder of Solijon and swiftly bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

Solijon, a radio commentator with dxLS Love Radio of Iligan City, had criticized local politicians.

“His past reports included accusations that village-level officials were involved in the illegal drug trade,” CPJ said.

Citing initial news accounts, the CPJ said two motorcycle-riding gunmen shot Solijon while he was walking to his car after having dinner with a friend at around 10:30 p.m. in Barangay Buru-un in Iligan City.

The gunmen shot him several times at close range in the head, abdomen, and shoulder. Shells from a cal-.45 pistol were recovered from the scene.

CPJ noted the victim was known to have close ties with Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte.

3 other murders

The CPJ noted at least three other journalists had been killed in the Philippines since late July. These include:

– July 30: newspaper columnists Richard Kho and Bonifacio Loreto were fatally shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Quezon City.
– Aug. 1: freelance photographer Mario Sy was fatally shot by an unidentified gunman who entered his home in General Santos City.

“CPJ is investigating the circumstances behind the murders to determine if they were related to the victims’ work as journalists,” the group said.

On the other hand, CPJ said at least 73 Philippine journalists have been killed in direct connection to their work since 1992.

It said this made the Philippines the second deadliest country in the world for the press. — LBG, GMA News

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