Radio announcer shot dead in Albay

ALBAY, Philippines (8th UPDATE) – Radio broadcaster Joey Llana was shot and killed while driving his car along Barangay Peñafrancia, Daraga town, Friday, July 20.

Wilson Lllana said his cousin Joey was on his way to Legazpi for his radio program in 92.3 FM Home Radio Legazpi when he was ambushed.

According to a report by the Police Regional Office 5, unidentified gunmen ambushed the broadcaster around 4:45 am along the alternate road in Daraga.

Police said Llana, 43, was shot 14 times with a .45-caliber gun and a 9mm pistol as he  maneuvering his car out of his garage in Barangay Peñafrancia when he was attacked.

The journalist sustained several gunshot wounds in the head and in the body. First responders to the scene declared Joey dead at about 6:05 am.

Superintendent Benito Dipad, Daraga chief of police, said the victim had received death threats but the latter dismissed them.

“According to the family of the victim, Joey has been receiving death threats since last year from unknown persons but was disregarded and not taken it seriously,” Dipad said.

Jun Llana said his older brother Joey acted as their father as he was the oldest sibling in their home. Joey, who was single, was the 4th among 8 siblings.  

Special task force

Dipad said that Daraga police will create a special task force to handle the investigation.

“We will organize special investigation task group which is a composite team from our legal, CIDG and Crime Lab to expedite the resolution of the victim’s killing,” he  said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement, "If proven to be  related to his work, his death would be the 12th media killing under President Rodrigo Duterte, the third in Bicol and the 185th since 1986."

The first radio commentator gunned down in Albay in early 2000 was Jun Villanueva of radio station DZGB in early 2000, followed by Roel Enrinal of DWZR later that same year. 

Malacañang condemned the killing, calling it "yet another infringement on the rights to life and a free press."

"The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) will be relentless in according justice to this latest victim," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

'Weakened' Philippine democracy

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the latest attack on a Filipino journalist, and said every killing “weakened” Philippine democracy.

"The murder of Joey Llana earlier this morning in the Philippines underscores the dangerous working environment that the media in the Philippines faces every day,” IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger said in a statement.

“The government of the Philippines must take immediate action to curb the culture of violence and impunity against the local media. The Philippines democracy is weakened every time a journalist is killed,” he added. 

Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, condemned the latest media killing as "another deplorable act, which has no place in a democratic society."

"We urge the authorities to swiftly act on this and bring the perpetrators to justice. The increasing number of killings of journalists and the slow resolution of cases embolden those who carry out the attacks against the members of the media. Let us not allow the culture of impunity to claim more lives," Poe said.

For his part, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara urged "the authorities to conduct an immediate investigation into this cowardly act and bring to the bar of justice the perpetrators at all cost. We cannot allow fear and impunity to reign in a democratic society."

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had deemed the Philippines as the deadliest country for journalists in Asia, with 4 Filipino journalists killed for their work in 2017. 

The Philippines was also included in the top 5 dangerous countries for journalists – together with Mexico, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The report labeled Syria as "the world's deadliest." – Rappler.com