Rappler report on hospital 'EJK' victim wins human rights award

A Rappler exclusive on a 27-year-old alleged drug pusher who was killed at a hospital in Angono, Rizal, is a merit winner at the Human Rights Press Awards (HRPA) this year, announced the Hong Kong-based award-giving body on Thursday, May 6.

The November 2020 report, titled “He survives 3 shots to the head but is killed by gunman at hospital,” was written by Rappler multimedia reporter Rambo Talabong. The story exposed the drug-related killing of 27-year-old Vincent Adia in Angono, Rizal, as the Duterte government stepped up its brutal war on drugs.

Part 2 of the story recounted how Adia’s last words implicated the police in his death. In text messages accessed by Rappler, Adia told one of his friends, “The police are about to kill me,” days before he was killed. Police did not reply to Rappler's request for comment.

Talabong’s story was one of two merit winners under the breaking news writing category at the 25th HRPA. The other merit winner was the story titled “‘Never before’: Shock, fear as India’s capital reels from deadly riots,” by Bhuvan Bagga, Maude Brulard, and Archana Thiyagarajan of Agence France-Presse.

The winner for this category was the story “‘End of the world’: Wuhan a ghost town under quarantine” by Hector Retamal and Sebastien Ricci, also from Agence France-Presse.

The HRPA, one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in Asia, celebrates “journalism that raises awareness of human rights issues and shines a light on threats to freedom.”

It is organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. The awards administrator is the Chinese University of Hong Kong - School of Journalism and Communication.

Known for his in-depth and exclusive reports about police brutality, Talabong covered security and crime for Rappler from 2017, when he was fresh out of college, until March this year. He now covers the House of Representatives.

In 2019, he became one of the youngest Filipino journalists to be chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. – Rappler.com