Melinda “Mei” Magsino

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Magsino, 40, a former correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was shot dead before noon near her apartment in the village of Balagtas. Police citing security footage said the gunman escaped on a black and white Honda motorcycle driven by another man, according to news reports.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), an agency in the Philippines government tasked with investigating high-profile cases, said it was searching for the two suspects, who had waited and followed Magsino as she exited her apartment. The agency said it was also looking for a group of men who were in a maroon van, who served as backups for the killers, Vicente de Guzman, NBI’s acting deputy for investigation, said, according to news reports.

Magsino’s friends and family attributed her murder to her years-long investigation of local officials. Magsino had reported on local corruption, including a governor’s alleged links to illegal gambling, and wrote exposés for news outlets such as the Inquirer and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

“She had no qualms about making anyone mad as long as she wrote the truth,” Bong Macalalad, a friend of Magsino’s, told CPJ.

In 2005, CPJ documented death threats against Magsino as she went into hiding following a series of articles she wrote about local corruption in Batangas. Soon after, she left journalism and traveled abroad before returning to the Philippines. She began working at a health clinic.

The NBI said it was investigating her previous work as a journalist as a motive, and was also looking into two other theories: a “love triangle” and Facebook posts berating local government officials.

“Although we could also be looking at a love angle, we also cannot ignore the fact that she continuously hit supposed corrupt officials in social media,” de Guzman said.