Provincial publisher killed

CMFR/Philippines— An individual onboard a motorcycle gunned down a newspaper publisher at around 10:15 pm (local time) on 7 April 2008 night in Pasig City in the Philippines. Pasig is one of the cities that make up the National Capital Region, where the country’s capital, Manila, is located.

Benefredo Acabal, 34, the publisher and a columnist of the Cavite-based paper Pilipino Newsmen, was shot by a gunman onboard a motorcycle along Amang Rodriguez Avenue corner Greenpark Village, Manggahan, Pasig City. Cavite is a province south of Manila.

A certain Army Staff Sergeant Antonio Ramos Raynilo reportedly brought Acbal to the Rizal Medical Center for treatment. Acbal however was dead on arrival due to multiple gunshot wounds.

Raynilo did not give any statement.

“Reluctant magsalita iyong staff sergeant. Basta hinatid niya lang yung biktima at ayaw magbigay ng address (The staff sergeant was reluctant to speak and refused to give his address. He just rushed the victim to the hospital),” Police Officer Lardy Ignacio told the online news site gmanews.tv.

Police later recovered five empty 9mm shells from the crime scene.

The marketing supervisor of Pilipino Newsmen, who refused identification, said that the publication started only this year, and has had only four issues. He said that prior to Acabal’s work for Pilipino Newsmen, the latter worked as a columnist for the national tabloid Bomba (Bomb) where he wrote political commentaries.

Police have not established the motive behind Acbal’s killing, said Major Henry Libay, a member of the secretariat of the Philippine National Police’s Task Force Usig. Libay also said that the police are reluctant to classify Acbal as a journalist since the latter’s wife did not identify the slain publisher as a journalist. Task Force Usig is tasked to investigate cases of extrajudicial and journalists’ killings.

The police, however, have not ruled out the possibility that the killing was related to Acabal’s work as a journalist.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility has listed 70 journalists/ media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 1986. Thirty-three of the 70 were killed during the present Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration.

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