BARELY a week into the year and another journalist is slain in the Philippines.
As the world mourns the brutal attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, here in the Philippines the reign of the culture of impunity continues to claim the lives of journalists.
The latest victim this time, a local tabloid correspondent.
About 8:05 this morning, January 8, two motorcycle-riding gunmen shot Nerlita “Nerlie” Ledesma, 48, several times while she was waiting for a ride, a few meters away from her residence in Barangay Tuyo, San Rafael, Tagnai in Bataan.
Ledesma died on the spot.
The Media Safety Office of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) cited Mhike Cigaral of Bataan station DZXL and CLTV 36 as saying that the suspect who alighted from the motorcycle and gunned down Ledesma wore sunglasses, a bonnet and a jacket. The two assailants were riding a black and white motorcycle, Cigaral added.
Interaksyon.com reported that the Ledesmas’ residence in Sitio San Rafael, Barangay Cuyo had been strafed by still unidentified suspects about a year ago. No one has been arrested over the incident, the report added.
Neighbors close to the Ledesmas said that Nerlita’s husband—a tricycle driver—usually drove her to the Bataan Provincial Capitol. But on Thursday, the husband’s tricycle broke down, prompting Ledesma to wait for a ride.
“If proven work-related, the Abante reporter brings the number of slain journalists to 172 since the fall of the dictatorship in 1986 and 31 under President Benigno Aquino III,” the NUJP media alert reads.— PCIJ, January 2015