Two more Filipino journalists murdered
MANILA - In the most daring terror attack by hired guns since the infamous killings of 57 people, including 32 journalists in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre in November last year, assassins slew two more Filipino broadcast journalists in separate incidents the past two days, making the Philippines the deadliest country in the world for media people. Killed in gangland fashion were Jovelito Agustin, 37, radio reporter and anchorman of Station DZJC based in Laoag City some 300 kilometers north of Manila, and Desidario “Jesse” Camangyan, 52, an outspoken radio reporter of Sunrise FM Radio in the town of Manay, Davao Oriental in southern Philippines some 950 kilometers south of Manila.
Camangyan was hosting a local singing contest when a lone gunman from among the audience drew a pistol and shot dead at close range the victim before his horrified wife and six-year old son Monday night, police said.
Agustin and Camangayan were the 138th and 139th Filipino journalists killed since 1986.
Agustin popularly known as “Action Lito” was riding home aboard his motorcycle, together with his nephew, Joseph Agustin, 22, Tuesday night when the gunmen also riding in tandem on another motorbike, overtook the radio reporter along the national highway in Barangay Barit, Laoag City, and fired successive shots.
Agustin sustained two gunshot wounds from a .45 caliber pistol. He fell from his motorcycle, but was still alive. He was rushed to the hospital by responding policemen. His nephew was unscathed.
While fighting for his life, Agustin was able to talk to his media colleagues who swarmed to the emergency room.
Agustin pleaded to doctors to operate on him immediately. When asked who his killers were, he said he would identify them later. But he expired just three hours after he was shot.
Last May 7 an unidentified assailant fired at Agustin's compound, but he was unhurt at that time.
“We are also in the process of coordinating with the Bacarra town police station to verify if the killing was linked to the indiscriminate firing at the compound of the victim last May 7, 2010," said Supt. Blanco, Laoag City police chief.
Camangyan was on stage holding a microphone as host of a fiesta singing contest when a lone gunman sneaked from behind and shot him in the head, Senior Inspector Ariel Nueva, the town’s police chief, said.
Many of the spectators were crying and shouting as pandemonium broke loose.
The gunman casually fled after shooting.
Camangyan was known as an outspoken critic of illegal logging in Davao Oriental.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in Southern Mindanao called the murder “an act indicating the ever-existent culture of impunity in our midst, which is most felt in small and remote towns dominated by the very powerful few.”
The latest killings occurred even as the horrifying Maguindanao Massacre is still fresh in the mind of the media worldwide.