Journalist dies a month after Sultan Kudarat attack
MANILA, Philippines – Radio manager Benjie Caballero died on Monday, December 2, after sustaining injuries from a shooting in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, last October 30. (READ: Journalist attacked in Sultan Kudarat)
He sustained 5 gunshot wounds during the attack and was operated on at a hospital in Davao City to remove two slugs lodged near his lungs and shoulder. He remained hospitalized until he died of complications from pneumonia.
In November, his family issued an urgent appeal for donations to help pay for his hospital bills.
Caballero managed Radyo ni Juan and headed the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Task Force on Media Security. He was also known to be critical of a powerful political clan in Maguindanao.
He was shot outside his home in Sultan Kudarat by two men on a motorcycle.
In October, Undersecretary Joel Egco of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security condemned the attack, saying that Caballero had no known enemies, while task force sources claimed that he might have drawn the ire of some people in a financing business he was involved with.
In a release, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Philippine government to shed light on the attack, saying, "The government must end the impunity that characterizes crimes of violence against the media."
"Benjie Caballero's death is all the more shocking because it undoubtedly could have been avoided if the authorities had provided the resources needed to ensure that he survived his injuries," said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk.
"The fact that he was personally involved in the safety of his fellow journalists adds a tragic dimension to his death. In this case more than ever, the authorities must identify and punish the perpetrators and instigators, so that this murder does not go unpunished as so many do in the Philippines."
Tacurong City is 40 kilometers away from Ampatuan town in Maguindanao, where 58 people were killed 10 years ago – 32 of them journalists – in what is known as the single deadliest attack on journalists in the world. – Rappler.com