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Two columnists shot dead in Manila, Philippines

Two newspaper columnists were shot dead on 30 July 2013 in Quezon City in the National Capital Region (NCR). The daughter of one of the slain said that the killing might be work-related, in a rare case of Manila-based journalists being killed. Most of the 131 journalists and media workers killed in the Philippines were based in provinces outside Manila.

Two unidentified men shot Richard Kho, Bonifacio Loreto Jr., and a witness last Tuesday 30 July at around 11:30 PM according to the police. Kho and Loreto died on the spot while the witness pretended to be dead. The suspects escaped.

According to initial news reports, Kho and Loreto were columnists for the Aksyon Ngayon weekly tabloid. Another tabloid, People's Balita, was Kho's previous employer.

ABS-CBNNews.com reported that Loreto was also Aksyon Ngayon's publisher.

In a TV news report aired on ABS-CBN's morning show Umagang Kay Ganda, the incident's witness failed to remember the faces of the gunmen but said one wore a toupee.

According to the same TV news report from ABS-CBN, Kho's daughter, Richelle, said that the incident might be related to cases her father wrote about.

"The last person they were helping now (was) a person whose house-facade was shot at, as well as his car. And my father was the person they kept calling (to ask) what needs to be done next," Richelle said in Filipino in the ABS-CBN TV news report.

Loreto's wife Nora, meanwhile, asked CMFR to interview her at a later time.

CMFR has listed four media killings in the NCR since 1986, of which only one occurred in the last ten years. On March 2011, radio broadcaster Marlina Sumera was killed in Malabon City, in northwestern Metro Manila, while on her way to work. The incident was reportedly connected to comments about a local land dispute that she made on air.

If this is proven work-related, Loreto and Kho will bring the total number of media practitioners killed in the line of duty o four this year and 15 under the Benigno Aquino III administration.

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