Hitmen ‘killed Philippine journalist for $3,370’

Philippine police said Tuesday hitmen killed a radio journalist for PHP 150,000 (USD 3,370) in an attack meant to stop the crusading father-of-five from speaking out against environment abuse. Police said the assassin told them after his arrest that he and an accomplice, who remains at large, had been contracted to kill radio broadcaster Gerardo Ortega on Monday to stop his criticism of unnamed powerful people. “The two men who paid them said their boss wanted to silence Ortega,” local police chief Superintendent Roland Amurao told AFP, adding that they may have been working on behalf of mining interests. “They were first given PHP 10,000 each and some operational funds, and the rest was to have been paid after the deed was accomplished.” He said the total amount to be shared between the two men was PHP 150,000, which is a fortune for many in the Philippines, where a third of the population lives on less than PHP 45 (USD 1) a day. Ortega, 47, was shot in the head while shopping in a clothing store in Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan island, on Monday morning shortly after he finished his daily broadcast.

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