Third journalist killed under President Marcos

Radio journalist Crescenciano Bunduquin was found shot by two unidentified persons on motorcycles in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro on May 31, 2023. Bunduquin succumbed to his bullet wounds and died on the way to the hospital. He is the third murdered journalist under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. His killing follows seven months after the killing of radio journalist, Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa in Las Piñas City in October 2022.

Bunduquin was a known “hard-hitting” commentator who denounced cases of political corruption, illegal gambling, and was very vocal about the circumstances surrounding an oil spill in Mindoro in February 2023.

Suspected perpetrators in Bunduquin’s murder, according to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), were police Major Isabelo Bautista and his partner, with whom the latter was involved in local “peryahan games” (a type of roulette) in Oriental Mindoro. A police Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) has been assembled to further investigate Bunduquin’s murder.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Bunduquin’s murder and reported that its regional office was conducting an independent investigation on the case. The CHR also drew attention to the repeated so-called “red-tagging” attacks against activists (i.e., falsely accusing them of supporting the communist insurgency). In doing so, the CHR named the controversial Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) television channel, whose hosts have targeted some NUJP reporters.

Bunduquin is the 198th murdered Filipino journalist since 1986, 101 of whom were radio journalists. The Philippines ranks 132nd out of 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index.

On May 18, 2023, managing director of the online news agency Rappler Maria Ressa and the company were acquitted in charges of tax evasion.


Photo © Raffy Lerma

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