Exactly on the sixth anniversary of the killing of a woman journalist in 2005, another woman broadcaster was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in Malabon City on 24 March 2011. In 2005 on the same date, journalist Marlene Esperat was killed at her home in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat province, southern Philippines.
Malabon City is part of Metro Manila, the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Philippines. Police are still investigating the motive behind the killing.
Len Flores-Sumera was on her way to the Manila-based dzME radio station when a gunman shot her in the neck. Sumera hosted the public service program “Arangkada Kinse Trenta (Full Speed Ahead 1530)” with dzME reporter Ed Sarto. If work-related, the killing of Sumera will be the first in the National Capital Region in 2011. Sumera would also be the 3rd broadcaster killed in the line of duty under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, who took office last June 2010.
Police are looking into a land dispute Sumera was involved in. In a 24 March 2011 statement, dzME said: “The investigation is continuing, but her family, as well as her work mates and friends, believe that the motive for her killing has something to do with a dispute between her family and another group over a four-hectare piece of land that the National Housing Authority is supposed to distribute to beneficiaries.”
The management of dzME said in the same statement that Flores had discussed the land dispute case in her radio program. But dzME reported on March 25 that the family did not know of any death threat Sumera had received prior to the killing.
Sumera is survived by her husband Juan and three children.
According to the CMFR database on the killing of journalists in the Philippines, 119 of the 179 cases of journalists/media practitioners killed in Philippines since 1986 were work-related.
CMFR (http://www.cmfr-phil.org) is a SEAPA founding member based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical journalism and to protect press freedom.