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Philippine woman journalist gunned down
By Manolo B. Jara January 09, 2015
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MANILA: Two armed men on board a motorcycle gunned down the woman correspondent of a Manila-based tabloid while on her way to work in Bataan province in Central Luzon, a local media organisation reported on Thursday.

Dabet Panelo, the media co-ordinator of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), confirmed the killing of Nerlita Ledesma, 48, the correspondent of the daily tabloid Abante (Advance) in the capital town of Balanga, Bataan.

Panelo said Ledesma was waiting for a ride near her home on her way to the Bataan provincial capitol on Thursday morning when two still unidentified armed men on board a motorcycle who were apparently waiting for her fired at her, killing her on the spot.

Police have yet to establish the motive of the killing, according to Panelo, adding that in late 2013, gunmen strafed Ledesma’s house that nearly killed her daughter.

But if the killing turned out to be work-related, Ledesma would be the 172nd Filipino journalist to be slain since 1986 when the Edsa 1 People Power revolution ousted the strongman rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos, Panelo said.

Panelo also pointed out that Ledesma would be the 31st journalist to be killed since President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino took over Malacanang Palace in June 2010.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma condemned the killing and said Malacanang Palace immediately ordered the Bataan provincial police to establish the motive, identify and arrest the gunmen and file the necessary criminal charges against them.

On Nov.23, 2009, gunmen massacred 58 people including 32 journalists in the province of Maguindanao in restive Mindanao that placed the Philippines as one of the world’s most dangerous areas where mediamen could practise their profession.

Also killed were the wife and two sisters of Esmael Mangudadatu, the governor of Maguindanao, in what was considered the worst election-related violence in Philippine history.

The bloodbath was blamed on members of a powerful and influential clan headed by their patriarch Andal Ampatuan, widely acknowledged as one of the staunchest defenders and political allies of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

At least eight members of the clan including their patriarch have been arrested and detained without bail in a police facility in Metro Manila after they were indicted before a regional court for multiple murder on 58 counts.

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