Manila, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- Radio host Virgilio Maganes, 62, was murdered Tuesday in front of his home in Villasis, Pangasinan province, in the northern Philippines, the 18th journalist to have been killed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate.
His death came two days after a failed assassination attempt when two armed men shot him from a motorcycle while Maganes was in a tricycle taxi, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines wrote in a statement.
“Wounded, [Maganes] played dead as his would-be killers left a cardboard sign saying ‘Drug pusher huwag pamarisan’ in an obvious attempt to smear him and mask their real motives,” the union wrote.
According to the police report, Maganes was about to enter his home Tuesday morning when, again, he was shot six times by two masked men on a motorcycle.
Maganes, a host at local radio station dwPR and a columnist for the regional weekly Northern Watch, is the 18th journalist murdered during Duterte’s term – most of them shot by motorcycle hitmen – and the 190th since 1986, when democracy was restored in the Philippines.
“His death is an indictment on this government’s empty boast that press freedom is alive and well in the country,” the union’s statement read. “We will continue to seek justice for Vir and all our other fallen colleagues as we continue our struggle for genuine freedom of the press and of expression in our country.”
NGO Reporters Without Borders ranked the Philippines 136th out of 180 countries in its latest World Press Freedom Index and the most dangerous in the region to practice the profession.
Since Duterte came to power on Jun. 30, 2016, at least 174 attacks on the press have been recorded: 18 murders, 33 acts of intimidation, 10 arrests, 12 assaults with violence and 17 accusations of defamation, according to a study conducted in September by the union and the Center for Press Freedom and Responsibility. EFE-EPA