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Two reporters shot dead in unrelated incidents

Two Filipino journalists have been killed in separate attacks in the past week - one while covering a drug bust and the other after finishing his morning show at a local radio station.

On 3 June, Tiburcio "Jojo" Trajano Jr., a reporter with the Manila-based publication "Remate", was accompanying police on a late-night raid of an organised crime den in Taytay Town outside of Manila when he was hit in crossfire between the criminals and the police, report the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Trajano was shot while trying to aid a wounded police officer who also died, Rizal police told "The Philippine Star". Police apprehended six alleged members of the drug syndicate the next day but the group's alleged leader and several other key suspects remain at large.

Rey Briones, publisher of "Remate", told CMFR that Trajano had arranged to go along with the police in hopes of getting exclusive photos of the raid. "It was his style. He didn't rely on press releases," Briones said.

Sending further shockwaves across the Filipino press community is the broad daylight shooting of radio commentator Crispin Perez, reports CPJ and RSF.

On the morning of 9 June, Perez, who is also a lawyer, was first stabbed and then fatally shot by a man who allegedly posed as a client, RSF reports. Perez, 66, had just finished airing his local morning show on local DWDO FM in San Jose, Mindoro Occidental province. (CPJ notes there are conflicting accounts on the murder; some news stories say Jose was shot at his home, others say he was killed outside his office.)

It remains unclear whether the killing was in response to Perez's journalism but the Mindoro Occidental governor, Josephine Sato, thinks the murder was "politically motivated." Sato noted Perez made enemies by criticising a contract signed between a local cooperative and a powerful private company, RSF reports.

According to CPJ, which is conducting its own research into Perez's death, say that Trajano and Perez are the third and fourth journalists killed in the country in 2009.

Journalists are frequently the target of shooting attacks in the Philippines, says CPJ, which ranks the country sixth on its Impunity Index for failing to solve cases of murdered reporters.

Related stories on
  • Broadcast journalist shot dead

    An unidentified attacker stabbed and fatally shot Crispin Perez in San Jose in the central Philippines.

  • Journalist killed in crossfire

    The Committee to Protect Journalists offered condolences today to the family and colleagues of Philippine journalist Jojo Trajano, who was killed in crossfire during a police raid of an alleged organized crime den near Manila.

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