The president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators on Friday joined calls for advertisers to boycott Puerto Rico's Wapa TV over on-air comments that appeared to blame a murder victim for his own death.

"There is no place for offensive and malicious programming that hurts the image of Latinos in general and in this case, of Puerto Ricans specifically," Connecticut lawmaker Minnie Gonzalez said in comments cited on the Web site of San Juan daily El Nuevo Dia.

The National Puerto Rican Coalition, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Hispanic Media Coalition are among the groups that have urged advertisers to cancel contracts with Wapa TV.

Two prominent Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Congress, Democrats Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Nydia Velazquez of New York, also denounced the comments of Kobbo Santarrosa on the Wapa program "SuperXclusivo."

The Nov. 30 murder of Jose Enrique Gomez Saladin in suburban San Juan stunned Puerto Rican society and popular horror over the crime grew as it emerged that his assailants beat him to death with metal pipes after forcing him to withdraw $500 from an Automatic Teller Machine.

Santarrosa, speaking through a puppet called La Comay, suggested the 32-year-old advertising executive was at least partly to blame for his death because he picked up passengers while driving through a seedy area.

"My question is what was Jose Enrique Gomez Saladin doing in Padial Street, a focal point of homosexuality and prostitution," Santarrosa said. EFE