The publisher of Trends and Times, a local community newspaper, Dennis Denora was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car shortly after midday when he was shot twice in the head at close range by two individuals on motorcycle who then sped away.
The Panabo City police have not yet been able to establish the motive but the modus operandi and the profile of the victim – described by colleagues at the Davao del Norte Press & Radio-TV Club as a “well-known columnist” and “fearless” newspaper and radio commentator – suggests that he was targeted because of his work.
“Dennis Denora’s murder is extremely disturbing and we call on both the Davao del Norte authorities and the presidential task force on media security to conduct a thorough investigation,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia Pacific desk.
“The current government keeps on pointing to this task force, created in October 2016, as evidence of its desire to protect journalists but this is the sixth journalist to be murdered since Rodrigo Duterte became president. The authorities must take more concrete measures to guarantee journalists’ safety.”
Radio journalist Edmund Sestoso was fatally shot in a similar fashion by a motorcycle gunman just over a month ago in the central province of Negros Oriental.
Regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, the Philippines fell six places in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked 133rd out of 180 countries.