An undated photo of Nestor Libaton. (Photo courtesy of journalist Cesar Lanos)
DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / May 8, 2012) – Gunmen shot dead a radio reporter in a daring attack Tuesday in the southern Philippines, his colleagues said.
Nestor Libaton, 45, who works for the Catholic dxHM radio in Mati City in Davao Oriental province, was shot at around 2.25 p.m. by motorcycle gunmen.
Libaton was riding on a motorcycle driven by a volunteer reporter Eldon Cruz when he was attacked. Cruz was unhurt in the shooting.
“We don’t know why they shot him. He has no known enemies,” one of the victim’s colleagues, Nella Duallo, told the Mindanao Examiner.
She said Libaton had four children and started his career as a volunteer and eventually promoted as a reporter. “He was a good guy, a friendly person and a hardworking man,” she said.
The motive of the killing is still unknown, but police mounted an investigation into the murder. It was not immediately known whether the killing was connected to his work.
Just last month, a radio reporter Rommel Palma, 31, of Bombo Radyo, was killed by motorcycle gunmen in Mindanao’s Koronadal City
Palma was shot inside a vehicle while his companion, Rey Legario, was gathering news at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital.
The international media watchdog Reporters without Borders tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. It said most of the murders and physical attacks on journalists were carried out by paramilitary groups and private militias.
Reporters without Borders said Manila has still not come up with a satisfactory response to end the spate of killings and attacks on journalists, so these groups continue to enjoy a total impunity that is the result of corruption, links between certain politicians and organized crime, and an insufficiently independent judicial system.
More than 100 journalists had been killed in the Philippines in the past decades and most of the cases remain unsolved. (With a report from Cesar Lanos)