New York, June 26, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the killing of Manuel Lacsamana, a contributor to the local monthly The Media Messenger and chairperson of the Central Luzon Media Association press group, and called on authorities in the Philippines to identify the killers and swiftly bring them to justice.
Unidentified assassins on June 23 shot Lacsamana while he was driving a pick-up truck in Cabanatuan City, in the Nueva Ecija province on the island of Luzon, according to news reports. Lacsamana was able to drive away from the street where he was shot, but was later declared dead at the Paulino J. Gracia Memorial Research and Medical Center, according to reports.
"Authorities must swiftly identify and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalist Manuel Lacsamana," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "The killing of journalists will continue until President Rodrigo Duterte shows he is serious about breaking the cycle of impunity."
Joel Sy-Egco, presidential undersecretary for communications and head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Safety, a government body tasked with solving media killings, said authorities are investigating, reports said.
Lacasamana also worked as a property developer and quarry operator, according to local reports. Police said his murder may be related to his work as a contractor at a quarry site in Nueva Ecija province, according to BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Asia. Police did not provide further details, the report said.
Lacsamana was shot while on his way home from a meeting with fellow quarry operators, the Philippine Inquirer newspaper reported.
The Philippines ranked fifth on CPJ's most recent Impunity Index that spotlights countries where journalists are killed and the murderers go free.