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Gunmen kill Filipino journalist in front of granddaughter

Reporter accuses high ranking police official before dying

Gunmen kill Filipino journalist in front of granddaughter

Rubylita Garcia, who was killed on April 6 (photo from Garcia's Facebook page)

Joe Torres, Manila

April 7, 2014

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Gunmen on Sunday shot and killed a reporter working for the daily tabloid Remate in the Philippines’ city of Bacoor.

Rubylita Garcia, 52, was gunned down in front of her 10-year-old granddaughter and another relative. The gunmen broke into her home on Sunday morning.

Garcia, described by colleagues as a "hard-hitting journalist," died at the hospital five hours later due to gunshot wounds. The victim's son, Tristan, said that just before she died, his mother had mentioned the name of a ranking police official as being behind the shooting.

A relative of Garcia who witnessed the shooting quoted one of the assailants as saying, "We will not harm anyone else."

Garcia is the 20th Filipino journalist killed since 2010, when President Benigno Aquino came to power, and the 160th since 1986 when democracy was restored in the country.

The Philippine National Police has already formed a "special investigation task force" to look into the killing.

Benny Antiporda, president of the National Press Club and publisher of Remate, however, expressed doubt that justice would be rendered "in the swiftest time possible".

"[A task force], whether probing the death of journalists or any other prominent personality, is never a guarantee that the culprits would be arrested and the brains unmasked before the ‘trail of the crime’, so to speak, turns cold," Antiporda said.

He said that despite the promise of Aquino to solve the killings of journalists under his administration, "nothing has been solved".

"As the number of dead journalists under the Aquino government continues to mount, solving the murder should be seen as the 'litmus test' in [the government]'s commitment to solve media killings," Antiporda said.

The National Union of Journalists said in a statement that the latest killing "shows that the government’s pronouncements on eliminating the culture of impunity … have been nothing but lip service."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks the Philippines the third worst in its “impunity index” of countries that fail to tackle violence against the press.

The CPJ listed at least 72 Filipino journalists killed since 1992.

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