Mortel, a reporter for the Mindoro Guardian, was killed in her home in Barangay Talabanhan, Occidental Mindoro Province, according to local press reports. Two unidentified armed men reportedly shot Mortel after a heated argument. She died from multiple gunshot wounds.
The motive for Mortel's murder remained unclear at year's end. Local police told the Manila Times that communist rebels had targeted Mortel because of her allegedly questionable financial dealings relating to local cooperatives she had organized in the region. However, police did not exclude the possibility that the murder was related to her journalism.