Philippine journalist critically injured in shooting

New York, March 12, 2012–Philippine authorities must immediately launch an investigation into the shooting of journalist Fernan Angeles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ is investigating the motive in the attack, which left the journalist hospitalized in critical condition today.  

Unidentified assailants beat Angeles and shot him several times near his Pasig City home in the capital, Manila, while he was running an errand late Sunday, according news reports. Angeles suffered several gunshot wounds and a fractured right arm, the reports said.

Angeles reported on Philippine President Benigno Aquino for the Manila-based The Daily Tribune newspaper, but it was not immediately clear if the attack was related to his work, news reports said. The Daily Tribune has often been critical of government officials, news reports said. The journalist’s wife, Gemma Angeles, told the Philippine Star that her husband’s attackers may have suspected him of “leaking information related to the illegal drug trade,” but did not elaborate.

“Philippine authorities must conduct a timely and thorough investigation to apprehend the criminals responsible for this attack and to determine their motive,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Until the justice system can effectively enforce the rule of law, those who attack journalists will continue to act with impunity, and the county’s press freedom climate will further deteriorate.”

Angeles is the second journalist to be wounded in a shooting incident this month. On March 5, two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot Radio Mindanao Network DYRI station host Fernando Gabio in front of his home in Iloilo City in central Philippines. CPJ is investigating to determine if the attack was related to his work or the unsolved murder of his co-host Niel Jimena in August 2011.