Police Arrest Four in Philippines Columnist's Killing

By: (AP) Four suspects have been arrested in the killing of a newspaper columnist known for digging into government corruption, officials said Monday.

Police Chief Supt. Antonio Billones said the gunman and three other suspects in death last month of Marlene Esperat were arrested separately last week in the southern Philippines and have been charged with murder.

Esperat, 45, a columnist for The Midland Review, was the third Filipino journalist killed this year, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said.

Billones identified the suspects as Estanislao Bismanos, 43, army Sgt. Rowie Barua, 39, suspected gunman Jerry Cabayag, 24, and lookout Randy Grecia, 29.

It was not immediately clear what role Barua played in the killing. The military did not comment.

Thirteen journalists were killed in the Philippines last year, making it the world's second-deadliest place for media after Iraq, according to the International Federation of Journalists. The Brussels-based group has blamed a widespread culture of violence, often condoned by government officials.


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