attacks against media

Journalist shot dead in Pangasinan

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(3RD UPDATE) The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines believes the killing of Villasis journalist Virgilio ‘Vir’ Maganes is related to the attempt on his life in 2016, which remains unresolved

A journalist was shot dead by still unidentified suspects in Villasis, Pangasinan, on Tuesday morning, November 10.

Police identified the victim as Virgilio “Vir” Maganes, a Villasis resident who writes for local newspaper Northern Watch.

Major Christian Alucod, Villasis police officer-in-charge, said in an interview over DWCM Aksyon Radyo Pangasinan that the incident happened at around 6:30 am on Tuesday.

The initial investigation showed that Maganes had just left his house to buy something when still unidentified riding-in-tandem gunmen in black jackets shot him several times.

Alucod said Maganes was shot in the head, as well as in other parts of the body, causing him to die on the spot.

It was the second attack on Maganes. In November 2016, Maganes survived an attack by riding-in-tandem gunmen in Dagupan City, on his way to work. He was only grazed on the side of his body then.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the attack on Maganes, an NUJP member.

“Vir’s murder happened just a week after the International Day to End Impunity for Crime Against Journalists, November 2…. Vir is the 18th journalist murdered during the Duterte administration and the 190th since 1986. His death is an indictment on this government’s empty boast that press freedom is alive and well in the country,” NUJP said in a statement.

The NUJP demanded a speedy resolution of the case which, the group believed, could be related to the failed attempt on his life in 2016. “This incident remains unsolved and Vir apparently remained unprotected,” it added.

“We will continue to seek justice for Vir and all our other fallen colleagues as we continue our struggle for genuine freedom of the press and of expression in our country,” the group said.

Another fatal ambush happened in a different town hours later.

In San Jacinto town, 56-year-old Ofelia Castro, the head of the municipal human resources department, was killed on her way to work. Police said the attack happened at around 8:30 am.

San Jacinto police chief Major Edgar Allan Serquina said Castillo was riding a tricycle when a still unidentified man on a motorbike tailed them and then shot her. She was also shot in the head.

Castillo was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.

The police are currently investigating the crime scene, and looking through CCTV footage in the area.

Before she joined the civil service, Castillo worked at a local radio station.–

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