Motorcycle gunmen kill Filipino radio commentator

MANILA, Philippines — Gunmen on motorcycles killed a longtime radio commentator in metro Manila in the latest attack on a member of the media in the Philippines, considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists .

Police said Percival Mabasa, 63, was driving his vehicle Monday night when two men on motorcycles approached and shot him twice in the head in suburban Las Pinas City.

The attackers escaped and an investigation is underway to identify and locate them, police officials said. They said investigators are trying to determine the motive for the attack.

Mabasa, who used the broadcast name Percy Lapid, criticized former President Rodrigo Duterte, who oversaw a deadly crackdown on illegal drugs, and his successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a dictator who was ousted in 1986 pro-democracy uprising.

Media watchdogs have condemned Mabasa’s killing, saying the attack underscores how deadly the Philippines remains for journalists.

“The fact that the incident took place in Metro Manila shows how brazen the perpetrators were and how the authorities failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens,” said the National Union. journalists from the Philippines in a statement.

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Amnesty International said the attack “bears all the hallmarks of an extrajudicial execution and an attempt to silence voices critical of the government”.

The victim’s family condemned the “brutal and brazen killing” and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Mabasa is the second journalist killed under Marcos Jr., who took office in June. Broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in an altercation last month in the central province of Negros Oriental. The suspect immediately surrendered to the police.

Nearly 200 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, when Marcos Sr. was ousted, according to the journalists’ union. The group led a protest on Tuesday night and called on the government to do more to stop the killing of journalists.

In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their men killed 58 people, including 32 media workers, in an execution-style attack in the southern province of Maguindanao that horrified the world.

The massacre, linked to a political rivalry, demonstrated the dangers facing journalists in the Philippines, which has many unlicensed firearms, private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement, especially in rural areas.

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