Radio Broadcaster Shot Dead in Philippines

Richel V. Umel
Iligan, Philippines
180720-PH-media-killings-1000.jpg Bystanders gaze at a vehicle in which broadcast journalist Joey Llana was fatally shot at the wheel, in Daraga, Albay province, Philippines, July 20, 2018.

A radio broadcaster in the eastern Philippines known for his stinging attacks against corrupt local politicians was gunned down Friday, the 12th Filipino journalist slain since President Rodrigo Duterte took office two years ago, his colleagues said.

Joey Llana, 41, who had a block-time program on dwZR radio in Legazpi City, Albay province, was ambushed in his car by gunmen shortly after leaving his home in nearby Daraga town at dawn.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Llana was on his way to the radio station to air his program, called Metro Banat, when the gunmen shot him 14 times.

His colleague, Erasto Alerta, said Llana had told him about threats he had been receiving via his mobile phone.

“We had a chance to talk yesterday and before he left, he told me, ‘we will never see each other again’,” Alerta said, adding that Llana had not divulged the name of the persons threatening him.

The SUV of slain Philippine broadcaster Joey Llana is seen with bullet holes after his fatal shooting, July 20, 2018. [BenarNews]
The SUV of slain Philippine broadcaster Joey Llana is seen with bullet holes after his fatal shooting, July 20, 2018. [BenarNews]


If proven that the attack was related to his work, Llana would be the latest journalist killed in the Philippines, where rights groups say democracy and press freedom have increasingly been under attack since June 2016, when Duterte came to power.

There have been 185 journalists and media workers killed in the country since democracy was restored in 1986, when a people’s power revolt ousted the two-decade regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The worst attack occurred in 2009, when a Muslim political clan massacred 58 people in the south, 32 of them journalists. About a 100 people were jailed for that attack, but no one has yet been convicted nine years after the massacre.

Llana was known to have made many enemies for his commentaries, which tackled perceived corruption and shortcomings of politicians, police officials, local businessmen and even fellow media workers.

Last month, unidentified gunmen shot dead two media workers in separate incidents in the Philippines. Police are still investigating whether their deaths were related to their work.

Joel Sy Egco, head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, condemned the latest killing, but said the motive for the attack on Llana remained “sketchy” at the moment.

The attack “saddens me,” Egco said, according to the state-run Philippine News Agency.

“This is the reason why it is very important that we should know the protocols on media security,” Egco said, as he urged Philippine media practitioners to immediately report to police any threats that they receive.

Sen. Sonny Angara said he was outraged by the killing and urged a speedy investigation into the attack.

“The violence against a practicing journalist deserves no less that condemnation, as it has no place in a civilized society like ours,” he said in a statement.

He said the government could not allow “fear and impunity to reign in a democratic society.”

Karl Romano in Dagupan City, Philippines contributed to this report.


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