DOJ orders probe on female broadcaster's murder

By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2011 03:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2011 03:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Justice chief Leila de Lima has ordered Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III to investigate the murder of female radio anchor Marlina Flores Sumera on Thursday.

In an interview, de Lima admitted media killings are more difficult to investigate.

She said in cases of extra-judicial killings, the leftist groups involved are easily identifiable. In media killings, several possible motives come into play.

She said the murder could be a political killing, work-related or just out of personal vendetta.

She, however, assured that the government is taking the issue seriously  and is doing something to solve these murders.

Sumera, a radio anchor of DZME, was shot dead Thursday morning in Malabon. Police said 2 suspects were involved in the incident.

The Northern Police District is now eyeing land squabble as the motive in the crime.

According to Azucena Villa, the victim’s aunt, the land where Sumera’s house is located is being claimed by another group.

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (Afima) earlier offered a P50,000 reward for any information that would lead to the capture of the gunman and the mastermind behind the killing of Sumera.

Sumera was the second journalist murdered in the Philippines this year, after a provincial broadcaster and environmental crusader, Gerardo Ortega, was gunned down on the western island of Palawan in January.

Media and rights groups say the Philippines is one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists.

They say a culture of impunity pervades the country, where powerful figures often act above the law and firearms proliferate.

Ortega was the the 142nd journalist killed since the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of democracy in 1986, according to the Philippines' journalists' union.

Most infamously, 30 journalists were among 57 people murdered in the southern Philippines in 2009, allegedly by members of a powerful Muslim clan who wanted to eliminate a rival's political challenge.  With reports from Gus Abelgas, ABS-CBN News, and Agence France Presse