26 July 2004
A CORRESPONDENT of radio station DZRH and the Manila-based tabloid “Bulgar” was killed in an ambush in Bauan, Batangas province, about 80 kilometers south of Manila on Thursday (August 5). He was the second journalist killed in the Philippines in just five days, the fourth so far this year, and the 47th since 1986.
Arnel Manalo, 42, was on his way home aboard his jeep when he was attacked along the national highway in Barangay (village) Manghinaw, according to Bauan Police Chief Col. Gaudencio Masangkay. In a telephone interview with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Masangkay said Manalo had just taken his children to school and was with his brother Apollo when two motorcycle-riding men stopped on the driver’s side of the jeep and the back-rider shot Manalo twice-in the left side of the face and neck.
The police found two .45 cal. shells inside Manalo’s vehicle. He was dead on arrival at the Bauan Doctors Hospital. Apollo told CMFR he was not able to see the plate number of the motorcycle because it was covered with paper or plastic. However, he described the gunman as between 20 to 25 years old, about 5’7″ to 5’8″ tall, and brown in complexion. When asked to describe the driver, he said he could not because his face was covered. Apollo said that the suspects were probably not from the area. Police Chief Masangkay said the police has not yet established the motive for the killing. He said Manalo may have been killed because of his work, and police have asked Manalo’s colleagues in the media to give them copies of his reports. Manalo also wrote for the local newspapers “Veritas” and “Southern Tagalog.” Masangkay added that police are also looking into politics as the motive because Manalo was also a member of his village council of As-is.
Manalo is the fourth journalist killed in the Philippines this year. Just last Saturday (July 31), Roger Mariano of DZJC was killed in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte province in northern Philippines. The others journalists killed this year were Ruel Endrinal of DZRC in Legazpi, City, Albay Province (February 11) and Ely Binoya of Radyo Natin (Our Radio) in South Cotabato (June 17). Manalo is the 47th journalist killed since 1986, when democratic institutions were restored after 14 years of dictatorship. Last year was the worst year yet for Philippine media since after the martial law period (1972-1986). Seven journalists were killed in 2003.