New York, August 27, 2004—Police arrested a suspected gunman yesterday in the August 4 killing of Batangas City journalist Arnel Manalo, according to local news reports.
Police believe that the suspect, Michael Garcia, was hired by local political leader Tony Mendoza, who has not yet been charged with murder.
Gunmen ambushed and killed Manalo, 42, a correspondent for the Manila tabloid Bulgar and radio station DZRH, on the morning of August 5 , shortly after he dropped off his children at school, according to international news reports and local journalists.
The journalist’s brother Apollo Manalo was riding in the victim’s car when he was killed. Police filed charges against Garcia after Apollo identified the suspect from police records, according to local news reports.
Police suspect that Manalo was killed for his reporting on Mendoza, according to local news reports.
CPJ is currently investigating the murders of five journalists killed in the Philippines in 2004. Recent killings have outraged local journalist groups, who are coordinating with police to investigate the murders and prosecute those responsible. According to CPJ research, the Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. Manalo is one of 45 journalists killed for their work since the nation became a democracy in 1986.