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Another journalist gunned down in Philippines
By Manolo B. Jara March 13, 2017
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MANILA: Another journalist, the second to be killed during the administration of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte, was shot dead on Monday by still unidentified gunmen on the island province of Masbate in the Visayas in Central Philippines.
 
Chief Inspector Malou Calubaquib, the police chief, identified the victim as Joaquin Briones, a former broadcast journalist and the columnist of the Manila-based tabloid "Remate."
 
Based on initial reports, Calubaquib said Briones was walking along a street in the town of Milagros, Masbate on Monday morning when two motorcycle-riding gunmen who were apparently trailing him shot him from behind four times and then fled.
 
Calubaquib said they have yet to determine whether the killing of Briones was work-related or due to a personal grudge.
 
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported that Briones was convicted of libel by a regional court and was sentenced to a prison term of 12 years in 2000.
 
But after serving six years of his jail term, the NUJP said Briones was released on parole in late 2005.
 
His colleagues said Briones, aside from being a tabloid columnist, also became popular when he hosted a morning radio programme called "Dos por Dos" where he exposed alleged corruption and illegal drugs involving provincial and local officials as well as the police.
 
The NUJP said Briones was the second journalist to be killed since Duterte became president on June 30, 2016.
 
The first was Larry Que, the publisher of the Catanduanes News, who was slain by a still unidentified gunman while entering his office in the capital town of Virac, Catanduanes on Dec.20, 2016.
 
Reports also disclosed that Briones was the third community journalist to be killed in Masbate, described as one of the country's "perennial election hot spots," the first being Nelson Nedura in December 2003 and the second, Miguelito Rivera in June 2013.
 
Foreign and local media groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world's most dangerous places where journalists are to practice their profession, citing the unabated "culture of impunity" against them.
 
In November 2009, at least 32 journalists were slain in the massacre of 58 people in Maguindanao province in Mindanao, considered the worst election-related violence in Philippine history.
 
The bloodbath was blamed on members of a powerful and influential clan headed by the late Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan as well policemen, soldiers and militiamen belonging to their "private army" who have been indicted for multiple murder on 58 counts before a special Metro Manila regional court.
 

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