In Philippines, tabloid reporter shot dead in her home

New York, April 7, 2014–Authorities in the Philippines must conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the murder of a local reporter on Sunday and do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Two assailants fired multiple shots at Rubylita Garcia, 52, after entering her home in Bacoor City in the province of Cavite, according to news reports. The suspects fled the scene on a motorcycle. The journalist’s family members rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she died, the reports said.

Garcia was a reporter for the tabloid newspaper Remate and host of a local blocktime radio talk show at dwAD radio station. She was a member of the National Press Club and had served as president of the Confederation of Active Media Practitioners Organization, a group of local journalists in the region, reports said.

Local journalists in the province suggested the murder could be work-related. Garcia was known as a hard-hitting journalist who had exposed wrongdoing in the Cavite police force, reports said.

News reports said that while Garcia was still conscious, she identified a high-ranking local police officer as being behind the attack. Remate‘s publisher, Benny Antiporda, said that she and the police official had had a heated verbal altercation recently. It is not clear what the altercation was about.

“Garcia’s murder reaffirms the Philippines’ reputation as one of the deadliest places in the world to be a journalist,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Until the perpetrators of Garcia’s murder and those of other journalists in the country are brought to justice, the deadly cycle of impunity will inevitably continue.”

Radio hosts who lease airtime on local stations, called block-timers, are frequently targeted in provincial areas of the Philippines. The country is ranked as the second deadliest place for journalists, according to CPJ research. At least 74 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since CPJ began keeping records in 1992, data shows.