UPDATED: Tabloid reporter shot dead; 140th since 1986

CMFR/Philippines – A reporter for a Manila tabloid was shot at least four times inside her home and died in a hospital in Bacoor City, Cavite province on 6 April 2014.  Her colleagues said a feud with a police officer was a possible motive for the killing.

Bacoor is some 25 kilometers south of Manila.

Unless she was killed for non-work reasons, Robelita “Ruby” Garcia is the tenth woman journalist/media worker killed in the Philippines in the line of duty since the institutions of liberal democracy were restored in 1986, and the 140th killed for her work since that year. Twenty-one others have been killed under the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, who was elected in 2010.

Police investigators said unidentified men barged into Garcia’s home at around 10 a.m., Sunday and shot her several times. Garcia’s son brought her to a nearby hospital, but she died from multiple gunshot wounds at around 3 p.m.

The killers, who did not bother to conceal their faces, escaped on a motorcycle.

According to a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Garcia was a correspondent for the tabloid newspaper Remate. A journalist for 20 years, she was president of the Confederation of Active Media Practitioners Organization, a group of journalists in the region, and a member of the National Press Club.

Garcia had started as a blocktimer in radio station dwAD two weeks before the killing, according to a report in ThePhilippine Star.

Remate reported that while she was conscious in the hospital, Garcia told her son that a certain “Col. Conrado Villanueva” of the Tanza town police was behind the killing.

In a phone interview with CMFR on 7 April 2014, police superintendent Conrado Villanueva denied knowing Garcia, saying they had only met once before, on 3 April 2014, at the Tanza police station, where they had an argument.

According to Rosel Calderon of Abante tabloid, he and another reporter were with Garcia at the Tanza police station for a courtesy call to let Villanueva know that their group was holding a meeting at a barangay (village) under the Tanza police’s jurisdiction. Garcia allegedly became upset when Villanueva denied knowing her.