MAY 10, 2005
Posted: May 12, 2005

Philip Agustin, Starline Times Recorder

The editor and publisher of a local community newspaper was shot and killed—the second murder of a journalist in the Philippines in less than one week.

Philip Agustin, editor and publisher of the local weekly Starline Times Recorder, was killed by a single shot to the back of the head late last night in the village of Paltic, about 70 miles northeast of the capital Manila, according to local news reports. Police said that the gunman shot Agustin, 54, through an open window in the victim’s daughter’s home, then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

A special edition of the Starline Times Recorder dedicated to corruption and illegal logging in the nearby town of Dingalan was slated to come out on May 11. Valentino Lapuz, a member of the local council who witnessed Agustin’s murder, said in an interview with GMA television that the newspaper’s special edition linked local mayor Jaime Ylarde to missing government money. Ylarde denied any connection with Agustin’s murder on the same channel, according to Agence France-Presse.

Agustin’s family told police that his articles about local corruption and official inaction against the illegal logging trade were the likely motives for his murder, according to the ABS-CBN news Web site. The head of the Philippine National Police, Arturo Lomibao, was traveling to Dingalan to investigate the killing, The Associated Press reported.