QUEZON CITY – Attacks on journalists have not stopped as another radio reporter and newspaper columnist was shot dead by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Quezon City last week.
The slaying raised to seven the number of journalists killed in the Philippines this year, and 30 since President Aquino took office in 2010.
The Philippines ranks third on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free. The country is the third most deadly place for journalists in the world, after Iraq and Syria.
A fast-food eatery employee was also wounded by gunmen who fled on their motorcycle immediately after firing at Jose Bernardo, 44, a reporter of radio DWBL and columnist of Banderang Pilipino weekly newspaper.
Senior Inspector Elmer Monsalve, chief of the Homicide Section of the Quezon City Police District-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU) based in Camp Karingal, identified the wounded employee as Marlon Dionio, 23, married, an employee of Jollibee Zabarte branch, and a resident of Pasong Tamo, Quezon City.
Dionio was hit by a stray bullet in the chest and was rushed to the hospital.
Press groups immediately denounced the killing of the broadcaster.
They called on the Aquino administration to act with dispatch on cases of media killings in the country, saying that the strong arm of the law should be applied against the perpetrators.
The National Press Club (NPC) also denounced the killing and urged authorities to immediately solve it.
Based on initial investigation, Bernardo was shot dead at about 9:42 p.m. Saturday in front of Jollibee Zabarte located along Zabarte Road, Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City.
Monsalve said security guard Eulegio Berina Jr., was standing at his post at the entrance door of Bernardino General Hospital when he saw an unidentified male person pull out a handgun and started firing at the victim who was about to park his motorcycle.
After the shooting, the gunman casually walked away from the crime scene and boarded a waiting motorcycle driven by a companion who acted as a “look-out” and sped-off towards the direction of Camarin, Caloocan City.
Bernardo was rushed by barangay tanods of Barangay Kaligayahan to Bernardino General Hospital but he was declared dead at about 10:50 p.m. by Dr. Jayson J. Tejada.
Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) led by Sr. Insp. Jun Malong collected from the crime scene a deformed slug and Bernardo’s black/blue Racal motorcycle with plate number 7554UN. Two fired cartridge cases were handed over by PO3 Tuscano to the SOCO team.
Police Officer 2 (PO2) Jim Barayoga, investigator on case, said Bernardo’s relatives believe that his work as media practitioner could be the reason for his killing but they could not say if Bernardo has been receiving death threats.