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Radio correspondent shot dead in Quezon City; 150th killing of journalist since 1986 if work-related

This statement was originally published on on 2 November 2015.

Two days before the commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on 2 November, an unidentified assailant shot dead a radio correspondent in front of a fast food restaurant in Brgy. Kaligayahan, Quezon City, Metro Manila on 31 October 2015.

DwIZ volunteer reporter Jose Bernardo was parking his motorcycle in front of a fast food restaurant at about 9:00 pm when the lone gunman shot him at close range. The assailant then walked to a waiting motorcycle driven by a cohort. The suspects then fled the crime scene.

Bernardo died on the spot. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the head.

Before working as a dwIZ volunteer, Bernardo was a reporter of the blocktime program Walang Personalan, Trabaho Lang in dwBL hosted by radio blocktimer Ronald Pula. According to a dwIZ employee, the program failed to renew its contract and stopped broadcasting a month ago.

In Philippine broadcast practice, a blocktimer is an individual who purchases "blocks" of TV or radio time for sponsorship. Among the journalists killed in the Philippines since 2002 are 41 blocktimers and "volunteer" practitioners who are not paid by the TV or radio station where they have programs.

The police are yet to determine the motive for the killing, but investigators said that the incident could be related to Bernardo's work as a journalist.

If proven work related the killing of Bernardo will be the 150th case of a journalist killed in the line of duty since 1986, and the 29th during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III.

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    National Capital Region Police Office Director Joel Pagdilao ordered the creation of Special Investigation Task Force "Jose" to investigate the killing. Pagdilao also ordered an investigation into reports that Bernardo had shouted at several policemen in an apparent dispute before his murder, according to reports. A preliminary task force report indicated Bernardo had received threatening text messages, reports said. The reports did not indicate who sent the threatening messages or their content.

  • President Obama visits the Philippines : Open Letter

    RWB has written President Barack Obama an open letter while he makes an official visit to the Philippines for the APEC summit November 17-20. We ask that Obama remind the Philippines of its obligation to protect journalists.

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