Philippine radio broadcaster shot dead, police say

Jojo Riñoza and Jeoffrey Maitem
Philippine radio broadcaster shot dead, police say Protesters raise placards in a rally for press freedom in Quezon City, Philippines, February 15, 2019. Radio journalist Cris Bundoquin was shot dead in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, on Wednesday.

Gunmen shot dead a Philippine radio broadcaster on Wednesday, police said, the latest killing of a journalist in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters.

Cris Bundoquin, 50, was killed in a dawn attack by two motorcycle-riding gunmen while opening a community store he owned in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, a province south of the main island of Luzon, police said.

One of the attackers was killed after the victim’s son, who witnessed the shooting, rammed the men’s motorcycle with his vehicle, police said. The remaining suspect escaped.

Police have established a special taskforce to handle the investigation and were trying to determine a motive for the attack, said National Police Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr.

“We are maximizing our efforts to get more pieces of evidence and testimonies in order to shed light on this incident and facilitate the immediate arrest of the perpetrators,” Acorda told reporters in Manila.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the world’s ten deadliest countries for journalists, with several killed on average each year for their work, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Bundoquina, a journalist with DWXR 101.7 Kalahi FM, was the first Filipino journalist to be gunned down this year, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said. But he is the third to be killed since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. came to power in June 2022.

Radio journalist Percival Mabasa, who was known on-air as Percy Lapid, was gunned down in October last year in Manila, and radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in central Negros Oriental in September.

Col. Redrico Maranan, a national police spokesman who also heads a task force looking into attacks on the media, said the police would contact Bundoquin’s family and colleagues to piece together a plausible motive for the attack.

“While his work as a media representative involves discussion of critical issues, we cannot fully conclude as of this time that the motive is work-related, but we are exploring all possible angles as of this time,” he said.

“We assure our media colleagues that the PNP prioritizes the security of those working in the media industry.”

Since 1986, there have been 198 journalists killed in the Philippines, based on the data and monitoring from the NUJP.

The Philippines is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their associates killed 58 people, including 32 journalists, in an execution-style attack in southern Maguindanao province. Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, the chief executive and co-founder of online news publication Rappler, could face years in prison if her appeal for a defamation conviction fails. 

President Marcos has vowed to protect press freedom, though he often shied away from journalists with probing questions during his presidential campaign. 

He has continued to ignore requests to sit down with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the Committee to Protect Journalists.


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