Philippine pirates accused of killing journalist

Philippine police on Thursday charged two brothers who sold pirated DVDs with the murder of a journalist, whom they allegedly suspected of tipping off authorities about their illegal trade. Roberto Ramos, a reporter for the tabloid Katapat, was standing in front of a market in Cabuyao town, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Manila, when two men shot him in the head at close range on Nov. 20.

Regional police chief Jesus Verzosa said police were searching for Buboy and Jalal Saidali, who ran a shop selling pirated DVDs and CDs at Pinky's Market which was raided by police recently.

"It was an obvious act of retaliation on the part of the two suspects," chief regional police investigator Superintendent Gil Lebin said.

Ramos was the ninth Filipino journalist killed this year and the 72nd murdered since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has described the Philippines as the world's most "murderous" country for journalists.

On Tuesday, former police officer Guillermo Wapille was convicted of murdering Edgar Damalerio, managing editor of the Mindanao Scribe and a commentator for DXKP radio, in southern Pagadian city in May 2002. Wapille was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay the slain reporter's family 135,000 pesos (US$2,500; Ђ2,100) in damages. No motive was established during the trial. Most of the other cases remain unsolved, reports the AP. I.L.

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