A veteran Filipino journalist was shot and killed inside his house in the central Philippine province of Samar on Wednesday, December 8.
Jesus “Jess” Malabanan, 58, was watching television inside his house in the village of San Joaquin, Calbayog City, when he was shot by still unidentified gunmen.
Malabanan, a correspondent of Reuters, The Manila Standard, and the tabloid Bandera was based in the province of Pampanga in the northern Philippines before returning to his hometown in Calbayog.
The presidential palace in Manila “condemned in the strongest terms” the killing of the veteran reporter.
“This cowardly killing in the midst of a pandemic is truly unforgivable,” said Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
“We will get to the bottom of this and will stop at nothing in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this despicable crime,” he said.
Based on the official police report, Malabanan was shot to the head by motorcycle “riding-in-tandem” gunmen at about 6:30 p.m.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
As of posting time, the Philippine National Police was still conducting “hot pursuit operation” to apprehend possible suspects who reportedly fled toward the direction of San Isidro, Northern Samar.
Egco said initial reports indicated that Malabanan “had no known enemies and was not a hard-hitting journalist.”
The National Press Club of the Philippines condemned the killing and called on authorities to look deeper into the incident.
In a statement, the Pampanga Press Club described the slain journalist as “a long-time reporter and stringer for many media outfits for many years.”
“[He] had proven himself to be a man dedicated to his duties as a journalist,” read the statement.