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MANILA, Philippines – Pampanga-based journalist Jesus “Jess” Malabanan was shot dead in Calbayog City in Samar province on Wednesday, December 8, according to Pampanga Press Club (PPC).
In a statement the PPC condemned Malabanan’s killing: “The Pampanga Press Club condemns in the strongest terms the killing of one of its members Jesus “Jess” Malabanan, correspondent of Manila Standard Today.”
Malabanan was a long-time stringer of British news organization Reuters. He also previously worked as a stringer at The Manila Times.
According to the PPC’s statement, the journalist was gunned down in the vicinity of his house in Samar by unidentified assailants early evening of Wednesday.
In a phone call the Calbayog City police confirmed Malabanan’s death. The police have also yet to provide further details on the journalist’s death.
Journalist Manny Mogato, who also worked for Reuters, shared in a Facebook post that Malabanan helped the news organization with their stories on the drug war, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. According to Mogato, the victim was being threatened prior to his killing.
“Jess helped Reuters a lot in the drug war stories that won a Pulitzer in 2018. Reuters helped him hide for months in Samar when he was threatened in San Fernando, Pampanga,” Mogato said.
Mogato said according to the victim’s wife, Malabanan was killed inside their small store.
“His wife said Jess was watching television at 6 pm inside their small store in Calbayog when a shot rang out. She did not see the gunman but the shot hit Jess in the head killing him instantly,” the journalist said.
Malacañang said it condemns, “in the strongest possible terms,” the murder of Malabanan.
“We condole with the family, loved ones, and colleagues of Mr. Malabanan and assure them that the government will exert all efforts to ensure that those responsible are caught, charged, and convicted for this crime,” said Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Thursday, December 9.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), a Palace entity, is looking into the killing and is in touch with the police investigating the incident.
Malabanan was the latest journalist to be killed. In October, Orlando “Dondon” Dinoy was killed inside his apartment in Bansalan, Davao del Sur. – Rappler.com