olumnist found shot dead

New York, March 2, 2005—A local newspaper columnist was found shot dead on a road in the town of Naic, Cavite Province, just south of Manila. A local village official found the body of Arnulfo Villanueva, 43, a columnist for the community paper Asian Star Express Balita, on the night of February 28, according to the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

Villanueva has criticized local officials in connection with illegal gambling, according to CMFR, but police have not yet determined a motive. The Committee to Protect Journalists is also investigating whether the killing was tied to his journalistic work.

Eight journalists were killed for their work in the Philippines in 2004, according to CPJ research. The number of killings put the nation second only to Iraq.