Philippines

Alberto ‘Pastor’ Martine

20 January 2015

The 57-year-old was a hard-hitting broadcast journalist in North Cotabato, in the central Philippines when he was shot on the evening of April 10 2005. He has received a number of death threats prior to the shooting. Martinez was a block-timer who hosted his own program every Sunday night. He was shot 200 meters from his radio station in Barangay Osias, and the bullet pierced his spine and lodged in his liver, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Following the attempt on his life, Martinez identified the two alleged attackers as a neighbor Ronilo Quinones, businessman Romeo Aranta and soldier Alvaro Obregon, alleged as the gunman. In September 2005, Martinez filed charges against the trio; however the court did not start hearing the case for frustrated murder until 2007.

The NUJP said Obregon remains out on bail and is still on active duty with his superiors in the Philippine Army continuing to protect him, claiming he was in Sulu on a mission at the time of the attack. Quinones also remains out on bail, while Araneta has been on the run since the trial began in 2007. In 2008, it is alleged that Obregon offered to pay out Martinez to drop the charges against him.

Following the attack, Martinez and his family have suffered tremendously, been forced to abandon their home and live separately with Martinez’s injuries forcing him into care. His wife survives by selling rice packages to farmers and his children continued to be supported by the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund (MSSF). MSSF is supported by donations from the Australian media, assisting colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region through times of emergency, war and hardship. In November 2014, an IFJ delegation met with Martinez’s family during its international mission to the Philippines, during which they also lobbied on his case.