President Rodrigo Duterte, pictured in Manila in May 2018, says he wants all media killings solved by 2020. In the latest attack, a newspaper publisher was shot dead in Panabo City in June. (AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Newspaper publisher gunned down in the Philippines

June 7, 2018 1:06 PM ET

Bangkok, June 7, 2018--A Filipino journalist was shot and killed today in Panabo City, in the southern province of Davao del Norte, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the killing and called on authorities to swiftly identify and bring to justice the assailant.

Dennis Denora, publisher and reporter at the privately owned weekly community newspaper, Trends and Times, was shot at around 1:10 p.m. while in his car and died instantly from multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to news reports. His driver, Mayonito Rivera, was wounded in the attack and is in a Panabo City hospital, the reports said.

"Authorities must quickly identify, apprehend and bring to justice the killer of journalist Dennis Denora," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "Until President Rodrigo Duterte demonstrates he is serious about protecting journalists, this type of wanton killing will continue."

Police spokesman Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz said that an unidentified assailant escaped on foot, according to a Manila Bulletin newspaper report. Police recovered three fired bullets and one used cartridge case from a .45 caliber pistol from the scene, the reports said. The Philippine Inquirer reported that police are investigating.

The Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club, an independent local press group, said in a statement that Denora was known for his "fearless" newspaper and radio reports. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, a national press group, said on its Facebook page that Denora's killing was a clear assault on press freedom.

The Philippines ranked fifth on CPJ's most recent Impunity Index, which lists countries where journalists are killed and their murderers go free. On April 30, Filipino broadcast reporter Edmund Sestoso was killed by an unidentified gunman in Dumaguete City, according to CPJ research. No suspects have been identified or arrested in the case, according to NUJP research.

In February, Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, a government body created by Duterte to tackle media murder cases, said that the president wants all media killings solved by 2020, state media reported.

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