Reporters Without Borders calls for energetic measures from President Gloria Arroyo to quickly track down the murderers of Ferdinand Lintuan, a radio programme host and well-known critic of local officials, who was gunned down this morning just after leaving his radio station, DXGO Radio, in Davao City (on the southern island of Mindanao).
Station manager Raul Antopuesto said he had no doubt that Lintuan was murdered because of his work as a journalist.
”On this Christmas Eve, the Philippine press community has again been hit by a terrible murder. The method used leaves no doubt that it was a targeted killing of a journalist who had criticized local politicians. President Arroyo and the national police chief have a duty to give the local investigators all the resources they need to catch the gunmen and those who put them up to it,” it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
Nicknamed “Batman” by his colleagues, Lintuan is the fifth journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines. Reporters Without Borders believes that Carmelo Palacios of dzRB Radio ng Bayan, murdered in April, was the only one of the other four who was killed because of his journalistic work.
Two men riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets shot Lintuan at close range as he drove away from the radio station in a car with two fellow journalists, Louie Ceniza and Edgar Banzon. Hit in the head, he died instantly.
Aged 51 and the father of four, Lintuan had often criticized local politicians, including the Davao City government, on the air. He had, in particular, accused local officials of corruption in connection with the “People's Park,” a local development project which he called the “Crocodiles' Park.”
Lintuan was the first president of the Davao Association of Sports Journalists.
National police chief Avelino Razon said he has ordered an investigation and the creation of a special "Batman" task force. Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza said: “The government will not allow this criminal act to go unpunished.”