Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Politicians Face Murder Charges Following Journalist Killings in Philippines

Filipino police have filed murder charges against two local politicians and a police officer over the separate killings of two journalists last week, according to news reports.

“Murder charges had been filed against them based on the strength of testimonies from several witnesses,” national police spokesman Leonardo Espina Espina was quoted as saying. He added that politics could be among the motives for the killings.

Both Desidario Camangyan of Sunshine FM Radio, killed on June 14, and Joselito Agustin, from the radio station DZJC Aksyon Radyo, killed on Wednesday 16 June, were reportedly vocal in covering corruption in the country.

Village head Romeo Antoling and police officer Dennis Jess Lumikid have been charged with the assassination of Camangyan, who was known for his anti-mining and anti-logging editorials. They have not yet been arrested.

Meanwhile, Pacifico Velasco, who was elected vice mayor of Bacarra town in the Ilocos Norte province last month, and his aide Leonardo Banaag have been charged with the killing of Agustin, but they too have yet to be detained.

Media reports also said that three men have been identified and linked to the murder of a third Filipino journalist, Nestor Bedolido, who was shot on June 19. It is believed that the death of Bedolido, a reporter for Kastigador, a weekly newspaper financed by a group of politicians, may also have been politically motivated.

Speaking following the recent developments in the cases, International Press Institute (IPI) Director David Dadge welcomed the investigations but also reiterated his call for an end to impunity in the Philippines.

“These investigations and charges are very welcome in a country now infamous for the impunity enjoyed by the murderers of journalists, but this is not enough. Those responsible for the killings of these three journalists – and the many more who have been killed in the Philippines in recent years – need to be arrested and tried in a court of law.”

The Philippines was the most dangerous country in the world for journalists last year, according to IPI’s Death Watch, accounting for 38 of the 110 journalists killed across the globe in 2009. So far this year three journalists have been killed in the Philippines, making the Asian island nation the joint third most dangerous country for journalists in 2010, alongside Pakistan, and behind Mexico and Honduras. (Louise Hallman - International Press Institute)

Link: http://www.freemedia.at/site-services/singleview-master/5006/

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