MANILA – Another journalist was shot dead in Zamboanga del Sur, the 31st media person to be killed under the Aquino administration.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Elvis Banggoy Ordaniza, 49, reporter of radio station dxWO Power99 FM was felled by two bullets to the chest while preparing dinner Tuesday night, Feb. 16, at his home in Purok Bagong Silang, Poblacion, Zamboanga del Sur.
Ordaniza was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Authorities recovered two empty shells of cal. 45 handgun from the crime scene. An initial police report also pointed to some witnesses saying the assault was carried out by a lone gunman.
While authorities have yet to determine the motive for Ordaniza’s murder, his colleagues have said he had recently reported on illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the town.
“It is unfortunately in such far-flung towns, where accountability exists the least and where disagreements can turn intensely personal, that journalists face the most risks,” the NUJP said in a statement.
The NUJP does not discount the possibility of “intense partisan politics rearing its ugly head, this being an election year, when, traditionally, assaults and threats against media practitioners tend to spike along with rising tempers.”
“But whatever the reason for Ordaniza’s murder, one thing remains constant — it is government’s continued failure to prevent such killings and solve past cases (only a handful of killers have ever been convicted, none of them a mastermind) that emboldens those who would silence critical media,” Ryan Rosauro, NUJP chairperson, said.
“It has not helped that our leaders have often helped feed the bloodlust through their apathy or, as President Benigno Aquino III has so often displayed, open hostility towards media whose view about the government is markedly different from his,” Rosauro added.
The NUJP urged all candidates, political parties and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to help safeguard press freedom throughout the campaign period, the Election Day, and up until winners are proclaimed, and eventually sworn into office.