Second journalist killed in a week

Another media practitioner was shot dead in the province of Sorsogon on 19 August 2015, a day after the killing of a newspaper publisher in the southern Philippine city of Tagum, Davao del Norte.

Two unidentified men shot dead dzMS-AM Sorsogon blocktimer and Anakpawis chairman Teodoro “Tio Todoy” Escanilla at the door of his home in Barangay Tagdon, Barcelona town in Sorsogon. The alleged gunmen were seen talking with Escanilla before the latter was shot.

Escanillia sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to Sorsogon Medical Mission Group Hospital Health Services Cooperative for surgery but died afterwards.

According to the Barcelona police, a police task force has been created to investigate Escanilla’s killing.

Escanilla anchored the program Pamana ng Lahi (A Nation’s Legacy) aired every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Escanilla was also the spokesperson of the human rights group Karapatan in Sorsogon.

The murder of Escanilla came a day after the shooting of Gregorio Ybañez, columnist in Bagting (ring) sa Katilingban (masses) and president of the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club, on August 18. If proven work related, the killing of Escanilla will be the 149th case of a journalist killed in the line of duty since 1986, and the 28th under the Aquino administration.

In Philippine broadcast practice, a blocktimer is an individual who purchases “blocks” of TV or radio time for sponsorship. Among those journalists killed in the Philippines since 2002 are 43 blocktimers and “volunteer” practitioners who are not paid by the TV or radio station where they have programs.