New York, October 4, 2005—A newspaper reporter was shot and seriously wounded today in General Santos City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao but escaped death because his attacker's gun jammed. Danilo Aguirre, a business and features writer for the weekly Mindanao Bulletin, was walking to work with photographer Emmanuel Zaldimar when a hooded assailant shot him from behind with a .45 caliber pistol and then fled on a motorcycle, according to local news reports. Police Senior Inspector Aniano Delco told The Associated Press that the gunman tried to shoot Aguirre again before leaving, but his pistol jammed.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is trying to determine whether the attack was connected to the reporter's work as a journalist. Cel T. Jubelag, publisher of the Mindanao Bulletin, said that unknown men had been following Aguirre and looking for his house over the past few days, The Manila Times reported. Jubelag said that Aguirre, 25, had only been with the paper two months and had not reported on anything controversial, although the newspaper had been investigating corruption in the judicial system, according to the AP.
Aguirre was wounded in the spine and stomach by a single shot. Zaldimar suffered minor injuries, news reports said. Police are investigating the motive for the attack.
The Philippines is the most murderous country in the world for journalists, according to CPJ research. CPJ conducted a research mission to the Philippines in June, meeting with local journalists groups, press freedom advocates, government officials and broadcast regulators, searching for solutions to the country's deadly patterns for the press. The mission concluded that corruption, gun violence, and the ongoing problem of impunity made journalists vulnerable to attack. Read more about the mission.