|Gunmen assassinate yet another Filipino broadcaster
Gunmen shot dead a broadcaster in Philippines today, police said, the third such fatal attack in two weeks in one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists.
Assailants on a motorcycle attacked Rogelio Butalib, 44 in the southern city of Tagum on Mindanao island, the regional police said.
Butalib was a commentator for the local Radyo Natin station and may have made enemies because of his program that tackled various local issues, including corruption, police believe.
However, police believe the killing could also have been politically motivated, because the victim was also elected to a hotly contested district post in October.
Butalib was the third journalist shot and killed in the southern Philippines in two weeks.
Michael Diaz Milo, a talk show host for DXFM radio, was killed in the city of Butuan Friday, while broadcaster Joas Dignos was murdered in the city of Valencia on November 29.
Unidentified gunmen shot and wounded a fourth radio journalist, Jonavin Villalbal, in the central city of Iloilo late Tuesday.
The suspects in all four attacks remain at large.
“This is saddening and frustrating. Another one from our ranks is killed,'' Rowena Paraan, chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, told AFP.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Philippines as the third-worst in its “impunity index'' of countries that fail to combat violence against the press.
By its count, the committee has said at least 72 journalists had been killed in the Philippines since 1992, excluding the three latest deaths.
In November 2009, 32 journalists were among 58 people kidnapped and massacred in the southern Philippines, allegedly by members of a powerful Muslim clan.
Of the 196 people charged in that case, 88 remain at large, and rights groups said families of the victims as well as witnesses remain under threat of retribution.
Four years after the killings, no one has yet been convicted.