Philippine journalist killed after surviving previous shooting

MANILA (AFP) – A Philippine journalist who survived a previous attempt on his life by pretending to be dead was killed outside his home yesterday, authorities said, in the latest such murder.

Virgilio Maganes, 62, who was a commentator for radio station DWPR in the northern province of Pangasinan, was shot six times by motorcycle-riding gunmen, police Major Christian Alucod told AFP. He died instantly.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the murder, which it said was the 18th such killing since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in 2016.

“His death is an indictment on this government’s empty boast that press freedom is alive and well in the country,” the group said.

Police said the motive for the killing was not clear.

The NUJP said Maganes survived a 2016 shooting by “playing dead” after being hit.

A note left at the scene during the first attempt on his life said: “I’m a drug pusher, don’t emulate me.”

Such messages were common in extrajudicial killings during the height of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs that has resulted in thousands of deaths.

Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and most of the killers go free.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said last month the Philippines was seventh in its Global Impunity Index, an annual ranking in which the nation has been a mainstay since the index’s inception in 2008.