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Group seeks thorough probe of radioman's slay

January 26, 2009 9:28am
MANILA, Philippines - An international media watchdog group called for a thorough investigation into the killing of a radio commentator in Cotabato City.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) voiced concerns the killing of Badrodin Abbas may be just a continuation of the cycle of violence against journalists.

"We are concerned that Badrodin Abbas' murder may be a continuation of the cycle of violence against journalists. The culture of impunity that has left Philippine journalists vulnerable to attack will not be broken until authorities bring those responsible for past killings to justice. We urge the government to pursue its investigation in a prompt and thorough manner," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, in an article on the CPJ website.

Two unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead Abbas late Wednesday last week in Cotabato City.

Abbas, a frequent commentator at dxCM-Radyo Ukay, was shot in the head while inside a multi-cab. He died immediately.

Cotabato City police chief Senior Superintendent Willie Dangane said police are looking into whether Abbas' murder was related to his work as a journalist.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, who heads a task force looking into journalist murders, announced that he had sent a forensic team to investigate.

On the other hand, CPJ said it is investigating to determine whether the murder was related to his work.

"Abbas had established a reputation for hard-hitting commentary, including recent pieces on a proposed peace deal that came undone by a court ruling last October between the government and a Muslim rebel group known as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to press reports. The two sides have engaged in an on-and-off armed conflict for nearly four decades," CPJ noted.

CPJ also said its research showed that two Philippine journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2008, while three others were slain in unclear circumstances.

In cooperation with local partners, CPJ launched a global campaign to combat impunity for journalist murders focusing on the Philippines and Russia. - GMANews.TV