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Philippines orders probe into former journalist's murder

© 2017 AFP

04 August 2017

The Philippines on Friday ordered a special investigation into the killing of a former newspaper editor with strong government ties, in one of the world's most dangerous nations for reporters.

Motorcycle-riding gunmen shot former journalist Michael Marasigan and his brother Christopher on Thursday in a Manila suburb, prompting Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to order the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the murder.

Marasigan, a veteran journalist, had covered economic cartels in the 1980s, and later served as an editor for BusinessWorld, then the country's premier business paper.

He later worked as a producer of video travelogues and a media consultant for the national department of finance.

"Aside from catching the perpetrators, we want to know the real motives behind the attack", Aguirre said in a statement.

"Is it because of Michael Marasigan's work as a media personality? Is it because of his previous employment with the Department of Finance?"

A study by the International Federation of Journalists said last year that 146 journalists were killed between 1990 and 2015, making the Philippines the second most dangerous country for the media, surpassed only by Iraq.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office last year, has openly lashed out at journalists over critical coverage of his drug war that has claimed thousands of lives.

"I'm not threatening them but someday their karma will catch up with them," Duterte said, referring to top television broadcaster ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.

"They're shameless, those sons of whore journalists."