MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Gunmen have shot and seriously wounded a reporter who is assigned to cover the Philippine president, bringing the urgency of concerns over violent attacks on journalists to Manila’s seat of power.
President Benigno Aquino III, fellow journalists and media watchdogs Monday strongly condemned the attack on The Daily Tribune reporter Fernan Angeles, who was beaten and shot six times with a pistol by unidentified men near his home in suburban Pasig city in metropolitan Manila.
Pasig police chief Senior Supt. Jessie Cardona said Angeles, 41, was attacked when he left his home to go to a nearby store to buy credits for his mobile phone Sunday night. He was being treated under guard in a hospital’s intensive care unit Monday.
Police were trying to hunt down possible suspects and determine the motive of the attack.
His wife, Gemma Angeles, said her husband told her that his attackers were linked to a drug syndicate, which has a presence in their working-class community. He appeared to have been suspected of leaking information about the syndicate’s operation to authorities.
The Daily Tribune is a Manila daily often critical of government officials.
Colleagues covering the presidential palace demanded a thorough investigation. They said they were holding Aquino to his promise to give “primacy to press freedom and protection of media practitioners in the country,” the statement from the Malacanang Press Corps said.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said police have been ordered to secure Angeles and his family.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines says 150 journalists, mostly radio commentators, have been killed since 1986 in provinces but rarely in Manila.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked the Philippines as the second-deadliest country for journalists next to Iraq.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)