Another Filipino journalist is murdered
MANILA - Another hard-hitting Filipino broadcast journalist on Monday was shot and killed in a daring broad daylight assassination in a crowded market in Puerto Pricesa City some 600 kilometers southwest of Manila, police said.
Killed was Dr. Gerry Ortega, who also worked as a block-timer commentator of radio station DWAR of the Radyo Mo Nationwide (RMN) network.
Ortega was the 142nd Filipino journalist slain since 1986.
The suspected gunman identified as a certain Marlon Dicamata tried to flee but was collared by policemen who were alerted by firemen who happened to be at the vicinity of the crime scene responding a fire alarm.
Initial investigation said Dicamata is from Taguig City, Metro Manila, prompting the police to suspect that the gunman could be a hired killer.
When asked about the motive of shooting the victim, Dicamata reportedly said that he was allegedly out to rob Ortega. But investigators have expressed doubt and are digging deeper into the case.
While fleeing the suspect tried to dump his .45 caliber pistol and changed his shirt when he was arrested.
Mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa went over the radio to confirm the killing of Ortega, a hard-hitting commentator, whose latest tirade was against the exploitation of mining in Palawan which is known for its abundance of natural resources, including untapped huge oil deposit.
According to Hagedorn, he had a meeting with Ortega on Sunday about the precarious condition of mining resources in Palawan.
He believed that the slaying of Ortega was related to the latter’s work as a radio broadcaster.
Hagedorn also disclosed that prior to the killing Ortega received threats from anonymous sources that Ortega’s daughter was being targeted.
Ortega, a veterinarian doctor who worked as a radio commentator, was also known for his hard-hitting stance against corrupt politicians.
The slaying of Ortega was the latest violent incidence against members of media in the Philippines.
Records in the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said that Ortega was the 142nd Filipino journalist killed since 1986.
Jerry Yap, president of the Philippine National Press Club (NPC), condemned the killing of Ortega. He said NPC will push for a vigorous investigation to ferret out the truth about the latest media slaying.
It may be recalled that the world's largest massacre of journalists took place on August 23, 2009, in Maguindanao in southern Philippines where 32 of the 57 people killed were media workers.