A columnist and publisher is the first media killing victim under the Rodrigo Duterte government.
Larry Que of the two-week old community newspaper Catanduanes News Now died 1:45 a.m. Tuesday after he was shot by a gunman wearing a bonnet and raincoat who then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice Monday morning in Virac.
Que’s murder came after he wrote a column criticizing local officials following the recent discovery of a shabu laboratory in the province.
Que’s column, written in Bicolano, blamed the negligence of local government leaders for the shame the discovery of the laboratory had brought the province.
He also wrote it was likely the Chinese nationals who set up the laboratory had help from Chinese residents of the island province.
In a statement, the Catanduanes chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philppines (NUJP) said Que’s murder has sown fear within the local media community.
It said a number of journalists fear they might be the next target for their reports on the shabu laboratory, said to be the largest discovered in the country.
NUJP-Catanduanes also said Broadcaster Jinky Tabor revealed she received threats after acting as media witness during the police raid on the shabu laboratory.
Last November 8, Northern Watch columnist and dwPR broadcaster Virgilio Maganes survived a slay try by playing dead after a gunman shot him inside a tricycle he was riding to the radio station in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
The NUJP said the suspects tried to make the slay try on Maganes appear to be a drug-related hit as the victim saw a cardboard with a “Pusher Ako Huwag Tularan (I am a pusher, do not be like me)” written on it.
“This added dimension to the thankfully unsuccessful attempt on Maganes’ life highlights the increasing risks faced not only by journalists but by most anyone who may be killed with impunity in the name of the government’s war on drugs,” the NUJP at the time noted. (Raymund B. Villanueva)