A Philippine journalist has been shot dead in an ambush, police said yesterday, the latest such attack in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media.
Christopher Guarin was attacked late on Thursday by two unidentified men on a motorcycle as the 41-year-old radio commentator and newspaper publisher was driving in the southern port of General Santos, police said.
His wife sustained a superficial wound on her arm, while their nine-year-old daughter was unharmed, police investigator Gerald Jubelag said.
He said no suspects had been arrested, but authorities were looking at a possible business rivalry as a motive.
“He jumped out of the car, so we will not be caught by stray bullets,” said his widow, Lyn Guarin.
“I saw my husband lying on the ground helpless, pleading for his life. It fell on deaf ears,” she told reporters.
Freddie Solinap, business manager of the tabloid Tatak published by Guarin, said the victim had frequently received anonymous death threats, the last one a text message on his mobile phone hours before the attack.
“If you show up at the station tonight, we’re going to kill you,” it said.
Guarin later showed up for work and read out the death threat on his early-evening talk show on the dxMD station.
He had been investigated by police, but cleared in the shooting death last year of the circulation manager of a rival local newspaper publisher.
Guarin was the first journalist killed in the Philippines this year, said Edwin Espejo, an official of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which has been campaigning for greater protection for reporters.
Media organizations and rights groups say the Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with six media workers killed and another wounded last year.
A total of 148 journalists have been killed in the country since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
The deadliest year for the country’s media occurred in 2009, when 32 media workers were among 57 people murdered in the south, allegedly by members of a clan, who wanted to eliminate a rival’s political challenge.