LOOK: Artist's sketch of journalist's gunman


Posted at May 31 2016 03:54 PM

MANILA - Police have released a sketch of one of two suspects behind the shooting of a journalist in Manila last Friday.

Alex Balcoba, reporter for the People's Brigada tabloid, was attacked outside a watch repair shop owned by his family.

The two gunmen fled on a motorcycle after shooting the 56-year-old Balcoba who was was pronounced dead at a hospital.

According to the special investigation group Task Force Balcoba, one the gunmen is 5'2" in height, medium-built, and aged between 40 and 45.

Manila Police District spokesperson Supt. Marissa Bruno said personal grudge may be the motive behind the killing although investigators have not discarded the possibility that the crime is connected to Balcoba's work as a journalist covering crime.

A reward of P100,000 was earlier offered for any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Balcoba is the second journalist to be murdered in the Philippines this year, and the 34th since 2010 when President Benigno Aquino came to power, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

He is also the 174th journalist killed since a bloodless uprising ended the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship 30 years ago, a union official told AFP.

Just 10 suspects have been convicted for attacks on journalists across the country since 1986, according to the union.

Known for its outspoken press, the Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for reporters, where powerful figures often kill critics with impunity.

Police say some of the killings are also motivated by quarrels over personal or business matters.

One of the world's deadliest attacks against journalists took place in the Philippines in 2009, when 32 journalists were among 58 people killed by a warlord clan intent on stopping a rival's election challenge.

More than one hundred people are on trial for that massacre. -- With reports from Johnson Mabat, dzMM; Agence France Presse