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Columnist killed in Laguna province

(CMFR/IFEX) - 7 May 2012 - Police have yet to identify suspects in the killing of a columnist for a local daily in San Pablo City, Laguna last 24 April 2012. The local police has offered a Php350,000 (approximately USD8,300) reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects.

A gunman riding in tandem on a motorcycle shot Michael Calanasan, a columnist for the local daily Laguna Courier, last 24 April 2012 at around 7 a.m. (local time) in Sta. Monica village, San Pablo City. Calanasan was also a city traffic enforcer.

Calanasan and his wife were on their way to San Pablo City hall when the attackers called the columnist and shot him in the face. Calanasan's wife, who works for the regional trial court, was unhurt.

According to the daily's managing editor, Calanasan started writing for the Laguna Courier in 2011. His mother is a former editor-in-chief of the Laguna Courier.

San Pablo Chief Supt. Ferdinand de Castro told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in a 2 May 2012 phone interview that the local police are “facing a blank wall” in their investigation. De Castro said Calanasan's wife and other witnesses have yet to provide the police any information on the incident.

In an e-mail sent to CMFR, Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM—Journalist's Passion) president Berteni Causing said Calanasan's family said he had no enemies.

Calanasan was a member of ALAM, a party-list group of local journalists and marginalized sectors of society.

Causing said that Calanasan's murder might be related to his work as a traffic enforcer rather than his being a columnist. According to the ALAM president, Calanasan's column, “Salita ng San Pablo”, focused on what San Pablo city residents felt about local issues and is unlikely to be the reason behind the killing.
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