MANILA – A publisher in Catanduanes was shot dead on Monday in what is considered the first media-related killing under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).
Larry Que, publisher of Catanduanes News Now, was shot in the head by a gunman as he was about to enter the building that houses his insurance office on Monday, according to the NUJP.
Que succumbed to his wounds at 1:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Investigators have yet to determine whether the killing was related to Que's work but the NUJP noted that prior to the fatal attack, the victim criticized local officials in his column for supposed negligence which allowed the setting up on the province of a recently raided shabu laboratory that authorities said was the “biggest” so far discovered in the country.
Another broadcaster, Jinky Tabor, who witnessed the raid has also received threats.
While Que’s killing is the first media-related slay under the Duterte administration, the NUJP said it was not the first assault on journalists under the current administration.
The NUJP said that motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and wounded Saturnino “Jan” Estanio of Radio Mindanao Network’s dxRS in Surigao City and his 12-year old son on the day of Duterte’s inauguration.
Last month, Pangasinan journalist Virgilio Maganes also survived an attempt on his life. His attackers attempted to disguise the hit as drug-related.
The Duterte government has created a task force to address media killings.
The NUJP, however, said “thus far, we have to hear back from authorities despite the creation of task forces to investigate these thankfully botched assassination attempts.”