3 August 2004
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Quezon City
(CMFR/IFEX) – Roger Mariano, a broadcaster with DZJC-Aksyon Radio in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte province, northern Philippines, was shot and killed by unknown assailants on 31 July 2004 at around 8:00 p.m. (local time). Mariano is the third journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year and the 46th since the country’s return to democracy in1986.
According to the local Inquirer News Service, Mariano was shot shortly after he left the station at around 7:30 p.m., after wrapping up his programme “Roger Mariano in Action”. He was on his way home on his motorcycle when he was attacked. The news service added that the 44-year-old journalist received at least 10 bullets to the back and head.
In a telephone interview with CMFR, senior police officer Bonifacio Ragotero, the chief investigator of the case, said Mariano was found along the national road in Barangay village 23, Santa Cecilia, in San Nicolas town, Ilocos Norte province.
Ragotero said the motive for the killing has not yet been established, but the Inquirer News Service reported that Mariano was known to be a critical commentator on government affairs. Before his death, he had criticised the local police’s handling of the government’s anti-jueteng campaign but did not mention any names. “Jueteng” is an illegal numbers game.
In his 31 July broadcast, Mariano had also reported on alleged mismanagement and illegal transactions at the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative.
The Inquirer News Service report also quoted another police officer, Leonard Battulayan, as saying that three witnesses had been identified who might be able to provide information on the killing.
Ragotero said that General Hermogenes Ebdane, the Philippines’ national police chief, had also been to the scene of the crime and had instructed the local criminal investigation and detection group to do all it could to apprehend the killers.
CMFR is investigating the case.
Mariano is the third broadcaster to be killed in the Philippines this year. On 11 February, Ruel Endrinal of DZRC, was shot and killed in Legazpi City, Albay Province (see IFEX alert of 11 February 2004). On 17 June, Ely Binoya of Radyo Natin (Our Radio), was gunned down by unknown assailants in South Cotabato (see alerts of 18 and 17 June 2004).
Mariano is the 46th journalist to be killed in the Philippines since 1986, when democratic institutions were restored after 14 years of dictatorship. In 2003, seven journalists were killed, the worst year yet for Philippine media since the martial law period of 1972-1986.
For further information, contact Melinda Quintos de Jesus or Sweet Mary J. Cawicaan Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), 2nd Floor, Ateneo Professional Schools, 130 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City, 1227, Philippines, tel: +63 2 894 1314/1326, fax: +63 2 840 0889, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.cmfr.com.ph
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