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Radio commentator dies after being shot in Mandaue City

(CMFR/IFEX) - A radio broadcaster died while undergoing treatment after he was shot by unidentified gunmen in Mandaue City, Cebu, a province in central Philippines.

Radio station DYRB commentator/technician Geruncio "Oscar" Mondejar, 34, was waiting for a ride to the radio station along Jagobiao Highway in Mandaue City at around 3:00 a.m. (local time) on 30 June 2007 when a motorcycle with two men aboard stopped in front of him.

One of the riders got off and shot Mondejar twice. The second shot wounded him in the lower hip. Mondejar was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to severe blood loss at around 7:30 a.m.

The victim's sister, Jennelyn Mondejar, said that her brother had not made enemies as a commentator. She suspects that Mondejar may have been shot because of their father's altercation with a barangay (village) captain that led to the siblings' filing of assault charges at the Office of the Ombudsman.

The police are looking into the possible motives and are not discarding the possibility that the killing may be work-related.

Mondejar co-hosted the radio programme "Banat Bisaya Morning Edition" and also was a commentator on "Ang Pang-uma Karon", a programme focused on agricultural issues.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the killing, saying in a statement: "Not a hundred Presidential Task Forces Against Media Harassment can stop attacks on journalists."

Mondejar's murder occurred almost two weeks after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the creation of a special prosecution team to handle cases of media killings. Mondejar is the fifth journalist/media practitioner killed in 2007 However, of the five, only that of Carmelo "Mark" Palacios has been confirmed to be work- related (see IFEX alert of 19 April 2007). The killings are part of a culture of impunity in which political assassins and the killers of journalists are seldom punished.

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