Broadcaster-columnist shot dead in Pangasinan four years after surviving slay attempt

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Unidentified men aboard a motorcycle shot and killed a columnist and radio commentator in Villasis, Pangasinan on 10 November 2020. The killing happened four years after the journalist survived a slay attempt on 8 November 2016. Pangasinan is 210 kilometers north of Manila.

According to the police, Virgilio “Vir” Maganes was about to enter his residence after buying cigarettes from a nearby store at around 6:30 a.m., when the suspects fired at him. Maganes suffered from six gunshots wound and died on the spot. The suspects then fled.

Maganes hosted a commentary program in dwPR Radyo Asenso and wrote the column “Eavesdropper” in Northern Watch.

The police have yet to determine the motive for the killing.

This was not the first time Maganes was attacked by motorcycle riding men.

On 8 November 2016, the journalist was riding a tricycle to work when two men on board a motorcycle fired at him. Maganes pretended to be dead while the assailants left a cardboard sign saying “Drug Pusher, Huwag Pamarisan (Do not imitate).” Maganes rushed to the hospital after the gunmen fled.

In a statement, the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), of which Maganes was a member, condemned the incident and demanded that authorities  work fast to solve the case, which could be related to the 2016 incident.

If proven work-related, the killing of Maganes will be the 170th case of a journalist killed in the line of duty in the Philippines since 1986; the 18th under Duterte and the third this year.