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CHR investigating killing of radio commentator in Cebu

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CHR investigating killing of radio commentator in Cebu
DYRB blocktime commentator Renante “Rey” Cortes was shot in front of their radio station in Cebu on Thursday morning.
Screenshot from livestream on DYRB Radyo Pilipino Cebu Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday said its regional office has launched an inquiry into the shooting of a radio commentator in Cebu. 

Renante “Rey” Cortes, a blocktime commentator for the Cebu-based dyRb Radyo Pilipino, was shot in front of the radio station last Thursday morning after he finished recording a program, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in an alert. 

Cortes was rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival at around 9:55 a.m., according to a separate statement from the NUJP Cebu Chapter. 

The group also said Cortes was shot by unidentified assailants aboard a motorcycle, citing an interview with witnesses conducted by the Cebu Daily News. 

The CHR in a statement said its Region VIII office is now investigating the incident. 

"CHR denounces this latest violence perpetrated against the media. We call for a swift and impartial investigation into the incident to bring justice to the victim and accountability for perpetrators involved," the commission's spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said. 

"Continuous media killings and harassment cannot continue nor can it be part of the new normal in today’s society," she added. "As a democratic country, the state has the utmost responsibility to protect its citizens against harm and acts of vigilante justice." 

Figures from the NUJP show that there have been 223 incidents of attacks and threats against the members of the press from the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration on June 30, 2016 to April 30, 2021. It also recorded 19 killings, eight slay attempts and 52 incidents of intimidation

Citing Cortes' profession and "possible personal conflicts in the conduct of his profession," CHR said it strongly supports the creation of a special investigation task group by local police "to swiftly hold to account those responsible for this reprehensible crime."

The forming of the task group was ordered by Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police chief, who assured that the police will look into all possible angles in its investigation, including whether the slain radio commentator may have received threats.

— Bella Perez-Rubio with reports from Kristine Joy Patag 

CHR NUJP PNP PRESS FREEDOM
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