Unidentified gunmen have shot dead a newspaper reporter near Manila, police said Monday, bringing the number of journalists killed in the Philippines this year to nine. Roberto Ramos, a reporter for the tabloid Katapat, was standing in front of a market in Cabuyao town, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Manila, when two men shot him in the head at close range late Sunday, Senior Police Officer Jose Magistrado said. The assailants then fled on a motorcycle, he said. Manila Radio DZRH quoted Ruby Garcia, Ramos' colleague, as saying he had exposed various illegal activities, including gambling and prostitution.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the killing, saying it was just the latest example of violence and intimidation against members of the press.
"While the NUJP is still trying to determine the circumstances behind Ramos' killing, whether it was related to his job as a journalist, for example, we must point out that his murder underscores the continuing danger being faced by journalists in the Philippines, particularly those in the provinces, where most of the killings of journalists take place," it said in a statement.
The latest killing brought to 72 the number of reporters slain since 1986, the union said.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has described the Philippines as the world's "most murderous" country for reporters, reports the AP. I.L.