Manila: Another broadcast journalist was shot and killed on Thursday in Digos City, southern Philippines, as the toll on scribes continues to mount in the country.
Reports said Sammy Oliverio was shot in a manner typical of assassinations carried out on high-profile targets in the mass media — by gunmen riding pillion on a motorcycle.
Oliverio, 54, worked as a commentator for the Davao City-based dxUM Radyo Ukay. He was rushed to the hospital by witnesses, but was declared dead on arrival early on Friday morning.
The motive for the killing was still being investigated by authorities, but Oliverio’s slaying is the carried out on a journalist in Digos since 2006.
A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said broadcast journalist Armando Pace was killed in the city in 2006, while in 2010, three gun-wielding assassins murdered Nestor Bedolido.
In his broadcasts, Oliverio had lashed out at government officials for their inability to curb illegal gambling and drug peddling.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), said that Oliverio had already gone on leave from anchoring his radio programmes for Radyo Ukay and Supreme Radio, following a stroke he suffered in February.
“He was on his way home from market with his wife when the all too familiar motorcycle-riding killers drove up and shot him in the head,” Rowena Caranza-Paraan chair of the NUJP said.
Paraan said what is expected to follow after the assassination is chillingly all too familiar.
“We can almost predict what comes next: police setting up another of those useless task forces that have so far failed to nail any of the masterminds in the 163 media murders before Oliverio’s, and the government vowing to bring his case to justice just as it has failed to do with all the other cases,” she said.
The killing of Oliverio came 19 days after Richard Najid, 35-year-old manager of dxNN in Tawi-Tawi was shot and killed by assassins in the village of Tubig Boh, also in the southern Philippines.
In April, Rubylita Garcia, a 52-year-old reporter for the Manila-based tabloid “Remate” and a radio programme block timer for dwAD, was shot after arriving home from work in Bacoor City.
Following her assassination, international journalists urged the government to take definitive action to put an end to the killings by bringing the perpetrators to justice.
“The murders reaffirm the Philippines’ reputation as one of the deadliest places in the world to be a journalist,” according to Bob Dietz, Asia programme coordinator of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.
“Until the perpetrators of Garcia’s murder and those of other journalists in the country are brought to justice, the deadly cycle of impunity will inevitably continue,” he said.