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Four charged in Manila broadcaster's murder

(CMFR/IFEX) - 8 May 2011 - On 25 April 2011, local police in Malabon City filed murder charges at the city prosecutor's office against the four alleged killers of radio broadcaster Marlina Flores-Sumera. Malabon City is part of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila).

In a 26 April press release, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced that the Malabon City police had filed charges against Carlos Alejandro, allegedly of the Partisan Armed Operative of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines, an obscure, hitherto-unknown group, along with three other unidentified group members as suspects in the killing of Flores-Sumera based on a witness account.

Roland Sibal, lawyer for Flores-Sumera's family, told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that the local police believed Alejandro and the other suspects were hired to kill Flores-Sumera. GMA news Online said the group identified themselves as a "reincarnation" of an infamous group from the 1990s that broke away from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.

Flores-Sumera, a radio broadcaster at dzME, was killed on 24 March near her home while on her way to work. According to reports, she had been commenting on a local land dispute on her radio program, "Arangkada 1530" (Accelerate 1530). One of the disputes involved the Silonian Homeowner's Association (SHA), of which she was president.

Prior to the killing, Flores-Sumera had received threats, allegedly from the Neighborhood Association of Maysilo, another homeowners' group in Maysilo, Malabon. Sibal said the president of the association, Emma Nuqui, had been charged before the prosecutor's office in connection with the threats.

The Manila newspaper "The Philippine Star" reported on 26 April that the Neighborhood Association of Maysilo was contesting various SHA-led projects in Maysilo, Malabon City, including a road widening project, a canal upgrading project and the construction of a multi-purpose hall.

Flores-Sumera is the third journalist and first woman killed in the line of duty under the Aquino administration. Three other journalist killings were apparently not work-related.

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