Newspaper editor gunned down in Philippines | india | Hindustan Times
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Newspaper editor gunned down in Philippines

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 13:13 IST

Gunmen shot dead a newspaper editor in the southern Philippines on Monday, the latest in a string of killings targeting members of the press, police said.

Hernani Pastolero, 64, was shot twice in the back of the head while having coffee outside his home near Cotabato City, on southern Mindanao island, members of his family said.

Witnesses said they saw a gunman casually walking away after the incident, and he was later reported to have sped off on a motorcycle, police said.

Police said they were trying to establish a motive, and were investigating whether the killing could be related to Pastolero's work as editor-in-chief of the Lightning Courier Weekly.

Regional police director Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao said Pastolero, a veteran mediaman of 30 years, did not have known enemies.

His daughter, Eva Marie, said her father was a quiet man who bothered no one.

"He is so good, he has no known enemies," she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

"Every morning he sits in front of our house taking coffee," she said, adding that her father never mentioned having received any threats.

Pastolero is the first journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year. Twelve were slain last year, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said.

"This is the latest atrocity against the Philippine press," NUJP chairman Jose Torres told the agency.

"The government must address the culture of impunity in this country."

He said more journalists would "likely be killed and threatened" ahead of the May mid-term elections, when politicians with private armies went after their detractors and critics.

International press watchdogs, including the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, have branded the Philippines the second-most dangerous place for journalists, next to Iraq.