Philippine broadcaster and ex-vice mayor shot dead
Updated: 2006-05-22 11:32 A radio broadcaster and
former city vice mayor was gunned down Monday southwest of Manila, becoming the
latest victim in a string of killings of journalists and activists, officials
Fernando Batul was driving to his radio station in Puerto Princesa city, 580
kilometers (360 miles) southwest of Manila, when two men on a motorcycle fatally
shot him four times, Mayor Edward Hagedorn and radio reports said.
A commentator for local Radio DYPR, Batul had criticized the city government
over the contracts of Filipino workers it deployed to Taiwan and had earned
officials' ire for interviewing local communist guerrillas, the Philippine-based
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said.
Last month, two unexploded hand grenades were found in front of Batul's home,
with a note warning his family would be harmed if he continued with his critical
commentaries, the center said. Police safely detonated the grenades and no one
Hagedorn _ who told Manila Radio DZMM that Batul was his strident critic whom
he sued for libel _ offered a 500,000 peso (US$9,600; euro7,519.39) reward for
the capture of the killers and ordered police to solve the case in 48 hours.
Batul was the former vice mayor of the city, but was unseated when the
current vice mayor won an electoral protest, Hagedorn said.
Before Batul's slaying, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
had listed 78 reporters killed since democracy was restored in the country in
Last week, the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists renewed
its concern about the safety of journalists in the Philippines, saying the
situation "has gone from bad to worse" after a Filipino journalist was beaten by
a local official that week, just hours after a tabloid photographer was