Another Journalist Shot Dead in the Philippines

MANILA – A hard-hitting veteran Filipino journalist was shot and killed in broad daylight in his way to work by two gunmen riding in tandem on a motorcycle in Sultan Kudarat province southern Philippines on Aug. 6. 

Police identified the slain journalist as Leodoro Diaz, columnist of Sapol, a weekly tabloid newspaper in General Santos City. Diaz was also the correspondent of Station DXMY of Radio Mindanao Network.

Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, director of the Sultan Kudarat provincial police, said Diaz was on his way to work riding a motorcycle when the gunmen casually overtook Diaz and shot him almost point blank several times to make sure he was dead.

The gunmen fled after killing Diaz. Their identifies are now the object of a police investigation. 

The killing happened in broad daylight at 9 a.m. last Monday not far from the house of the 60-year-old Diaz in Barangay Katiku, President Quirino town. 

Benjie Caballero, a fellow broadcast journalist based in Tacurong City, said Diaz was a hard-hitting columnist. 

“We are urging the police to investigate on his murder in broad daylight at a time when Mindanao is under martial law that prohibits non-military and police personnel from carrying guns outside of houses,” Caballero said. 

Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has placed the entire Mindanao region in southern Philippines under martial law since May 23 following the attack by Islamic Maute terrorists in Marawi City where fighting is still ongoing. 

Government forces have cornered the remaining 100 or so terrorists, who are holed up in clusters of concrete houses in the city. 

The military said more than 500 terrorists have been killed since fighting erupted more than two months ago. Government forces suffered 122 dead. 

Diaz was the third journalist killed in Sultan Kudarat province over the years.

Killed earlier were Marlene Esperat, a columnist of a local newspaper, and Amy Corpuz, a radio reporter.