Reporters Without Borders condemns the execution-style killing of Rubylita Garcia, a reporter for the tabloid newspaper Remate, in Bacoor City, Cavite province, 25 km southwest of Manila, on 6 April.
Aged 52 and a journalist for the past 20 years, Garcia was at her home when two individuals walked in with no attempt at concealment, shot her at least four times and then left on a motorcycle. Her son rushed her to a nearby hospital where she died a few hours later.
“We offer our sincere condolences to Rubylita Garcia’s family and we urge the police to identify those responsible for her murder so that they can be brought to trial,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.
“The authorities must urgently adopt concrete measures to immediately end impunity for this kind of violence or else they will have to shoulder much of the blame for the next attacks on journalist. Each murder of a journalist becomes the government’s responsibility because of its failure to react.”
A member of the National Press Club and president of the Confederation of Active Media Practitioners’ Organizations, a newly formed group based in Calabarzon, Garcia recently began freelancing for DWAD, a local radio station, as well as working for Remate.
Before dying of her gunshot injuries, she told her son she thought that Supt. Conrado Villanueva, police chief in the nearby town of Tanza, was behind the shooting. She and Villanueva reportedly had an altercation at Tanza’s police station on 3 April.
National police spokesman Reuben Sindac announced that Villanueva has been suspended from duty so that he would not be able to influence the investigation.
The Philippines is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, nine places lower than in 2013. With a total of eight journalists killed last year, it is one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media.