Philippine radio commentator gunned down
Journalist is the fourth slain in just over a month
VIENNA, Sept 4, 2013 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today expressed alarm at last week’s murder of a journalist in the Philippines, the fourth there in just over a month.
According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), radio commentator Fernando “Nanding” Solijon was walking home on Thursday at approximately 10:30 pm in the coastal village of Buru-un near Iligan City in Northern Mindanao when a gunman shot him several times before quickly disappearing on a motorcycle driven by another man.
Solijon, the host of the program “Sandiganan” on dxLS Love Radio 107.1, was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival.
IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi said: “We offer our condolences to the colleagues, family and friends of Mr. Solijon and we urge authorities to conduct a swift and transparent investigation into the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice. A total of 17 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since the year 2000 and impunity has unfortunately been the norm."
Solijon’s technician, Christopher Dapo, said the journalist, who was often outspoken in his criticism of local politicians, had received threats in the days leading up to the shooting. The CMFR quoted Investigator Senior Police Officer Melvin Denore as saying of Solijon’s death: “It was really work-related ... He was a famous commentator talking about politics. That’s not a safe thing (to do) here in Mindanao.”
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Northern Mindanao has opened an investigation and its regional director on Monday presented two sketches of the suspects during a press conference.
Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia this week announced an approximately PHP 450,000 (€7,700) reward for information in the slaying, with one-third of that coming from the city government and the remainder from the office of Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr.
According to IPI’s Death Watch, three other journalists have been killed in the Philippines in just over a month. On Aug. 1, an unidentified gunman entered the General Santos City home of Mario Sy and shot him twice in front of his wife and daughter. Two days before that, two unidentified men gunned down Bonifacio Loreto Jr., former publisher of the defunct Aksyon Ngayon, and the newspaper’s former executive editor, Richard Kho, outside a store in Quezon City on the island of Luzon.