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Tabloid correspondent killed in Bataan, Philippines

This statement was originally published on on 9 January 2015.

Unidentified men shot dead a correspondent of a Manila-based tabloid in Balanga City, Bataan province on 8 January 2015. Balanga City is 122 kilometers south of Manila.

Abante reporter Nerlita Ledesma was on her way to work when the gunman approached her and opened fire at around 8 AM (local time). Ledesma was just a few blocks away from her home in Sitio San Rafael, Barangay Tuyo. The gunman escaped on a motorcycle driven by another unidentified man.

Ledesma died on the spot, sustaining wounds in the chest, thigh, arms and hand.

Police have yet to confirm the motive in the killing. Mhike Cigaral, vice chairman of the Bataan chapter of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, told CMFR in a text message that Ledesma's husband believed the killing may be connected to a land dispute involving their homeowners' association of which she served as president.

In a phone interview, PO3 Leonel Gatchalian said that Ledesma had been receiving threats through text messages days before the attack. Gatchalian also noted that Ledesma's home in Barangay Tuyo was strafed by unidentified gunmen in November 2011.

"I cannot conclude that those text messages are threats. But I cannot stomach the messages," Ledesma told Punto! Central Luzon in a news story about the strafing.

According to the Punto! report, Ledesma linked the strafing to problems she had with the homeowners association. No one has been arrested for the strafing.

Ledesma also worked as a part time broadcaster at 104.5 FM Power Radio. If proven to be work-related, the killing of Ledesma would be the 146th case of a journalist/media worker killed in the Philippines in the line of duty since 1986.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Dispatches: A deadly start to 2015 for Philippine journalists

    Despite the country's reputation as a regional bastion of free media un-hobbled by official censorship, journalism is a deadly line of work in the Philippines.

  • Tabloid reporter gunned down in the Philippines

    Balanga City Police Chief Superintendent Frederick Obar told reporters that Ledesma's murder could have been motivated by either a land dispute or her journalism.

  • Filipino journalist gunned down on way to work

    "The Philippines needs to take strong and immediate action to curb the shocking culture of violence against journalists and the climate of impunity that continues to weaken the state and democracy."

  • Two arrested for killing of reporter

    While the motive for the killing was still unclear, the police were looking at the land dispute in the home owners association where Ledesma was the president and her work as a journalist as possible leads.

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