Mendoza, a part-time newspaper editor and columnist, was shot several times by unidentified men as he was returning home in Tarlac, 65 miles (110 kilometers) north of Manila. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to local media reports.
Mendoza, 58, reported and edited for small local newspapers–the Tarlac Profile and Tarlac Patrol–and wrote several pieces on land disputes before his death, according to the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).
Philippine National Police Chief Arturo Lomibao told reporters that “information on the killing of Orlando Mendoza points to the victim’s involvement in land disputes as the motive for the crime.”
Before Mendoza became a journalist in 1998, he was responsible for implementing the government’s land reform program. Land ownership claims are often highly contested and result in animosity in the Philippines.