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Critical radio broadcaster killed

(CMFR/IFEX) - A radio broadcaster who was a vocal critic of local government corruption was killed by two men on motorcycle on 24 December 2007 around 10:00 am (local time) in Davao, a province south of Manila.

Fernando "Batman" Lintuan, who had just completed his morning programme "Ligas Paka" ("If You're Wicked, You're Dead") on local dxGO radio, was gunned down after leaving the station in his car.

The gunmen opened fire at Lintuan at close range in a street intersection. Lintuan, who had been a radio broadcaster since the '80s, was also the first president of the Davao Sportswriters Association and was an official of the Philippine Sports Commission at the time of his killing. He was 52.

Lintuan is the second journalist to be killed in the line of duty in 2007, after Carmelo "Mark" Palacios, who was killed on 18 April. The CMFR database lists 70 journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 1986.

Lintuan was with two other fellow radio broadcasters, dxGO's Louie Ceniza and dxRR's Edgar Banzon. Ceniza and Banzon, who were both unhurt, said that the incident happened so fast they could identify neither the killer nor his companion.

Police recovered two empty shells from a .45 calibre pistol from the site.

In an interview with the daily newspaper "Philippine Daily Inquirer", Ceniza said that he played dead while the assailant was firing at the vehicle.

"Had I not pretended that I was hit, maybe the gunman would have shot me, too,"
Ceniza told the "Inquirer".

Raul Antopuesto, station manager of dxGO, said that the killing was "definitely job-related."

Weeks before the killing, on his 8:30 - 9:30 am radio programme, Lintuan had criticised the recently-opened "People's Park," a multi-million project of the local government led by Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Lintuan alleged that the project was overpriced and referred to it as the "corruption park."

The Davao chapter of the National Union of the Journalists (NJUP) of the Philippines condemned the killing "in the strongest way possible."

"The killing of Mr. Lintuan only shows how barbaric this society has become and how dangerous it is for members of the Fourth Estate to do their duties in this part of the globe," NUJP-Davao said in a statement signed by its president, Carmelito Q. Francisco.

Jan Marc Lintuan, 20, and the eldest of four sons of the slain radio broadcaster, bewailed the killing of his father and issued a plea to stop the killing of journalists.

"Please stop these killings of (journalists). If you have a deep hatred or were personally hurt by the journalist's work, why can't you just talk to the reporter and air your side? Why kill them when they are just doing their job?" Jan Marc said in an interview with "The Inquirer".

Lintuan was also critical of illegal logging activities in the Compostela Valley area and in Davao Oriental.

Police are looking into two complaints Lintuan had filed to determine if they were connected to his killing. One was against another radio station regarding his dismissal, and another against a taxi driver, which led to the latter's confiscation of his driver's license.

The police are also looking into the involvement of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), a notorious vigilante group known for publicly killing criminals in the city. United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston, who visited the country from 12 to 21 February 2007, scored the DDS in his final report to the UN.

On 27 August 1987, Lintuan survived an attack inside dxRA radio station in Davao
City, which claimed the life of radio broadcasters Leo Palo, Cesar Maglalang, and Rogie Zagado.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had ordered Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon to "immediately investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice."

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of CMFR. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CMFR.

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