New York, March 11, 2013--Authorities in the Philippines should bring to justice the perpetrators responsible for a March 6 attack on a freelance journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two gunmen on a black motorcycle fired shots at Domingo Valdecantos, Jr. at a restaurant along the Aguinaldo highway in Bacoor City, in the province of Cavite about 10 miles southwest of Manila, according to news reports. The reports said that Valdecantos sustained two bullet wounds on his back, but was in stable condition at a local hospital.
Valdecantos, 45, writes for the local paper Cavite Exposed and has worked for publications including People's Tonight and Imbestigador in the past, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. Benny Antiporda, president of the National Press Club, said the attack on Valdecantos could be related to his frequent criticism of high-profile local figures in the run-up to the upcoming midterm elections in May, news reports said.
"Two gunmen on a motorcycle silencing a journalist has become the hallmark of impunity in the Philippines," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The authorities must do more to protect independent journalism by vigorously pursuing and prosecuting all those who order and carry out the murder of journalists."
Radio reports cited Ronald Mendoza, head superintendent of police, as saying that authorities were investigating whether the shooting was related to the journalist's work, according to reports. Local news accounts reported that the police had identified one suspect, but had not said whether they had the suspect in custody.
- For more data and analysis on Philippines, visit CPJ's Attacks on the Press.