Gunmen riding motorcycles killed a longtime radio commentator in metropolitan Manila in the latest attack on a member of the media in the Philippines, considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. Police said Percival Mambasa, 63, was driving his vehicle Monday night when two men on a motorcycle approached and shot him twice in the head in suburban Las Pinas City.
The assailants escaped and a search is on to trace and track them down, police officials said. They said investigators are trying to determine a motive for the attack.
Mabasa, who used the name Percy Lapid, criticized former President Rodrigo Duterte, who oversaw a deadly crackdown on illegal drugs, and his successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a dictator who was toppled in a 1986 pro-democracy coup. uprising.
Media watchdogs condemned Mabasa’s killing, saying the attack underscored how deadly the Philippines remains for journalists.
“The fact that the incident took place in Metro Manila shows how brazen the perpetrators were and how the authorities failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm,” the National Association of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement.
Amnesty International said the attack “bears all the hallmarks of an extrajudicial execution and an attempt to silence voices critical of the government”.
The victim’s family condemned the “violent and brazen murder” and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
Mambasa is the second journalist to be killed under Marcos Jr., who took office in June. Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death during a fight last month in the central province of Negros Oriental. The suspect immediately surrendered to the police.
Nearly 200 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since Marcos Sr. was overthrown in 1986, according to the journalists’ union. The group led a protest on Tuesday night and called on the government to do more to stop the killing of journalists.
In 2009, members of a powerful political faction and their men killed 58 people, including 32 media workers, in an execution-style attack in the southern province of Maguindanao that horrified the world.
The mass killing, linked to a political rivalry, highlighted the dangers journalists face in the Philippines, which has many unlicensed guns, private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement, especially in rural areas.