Jesus “Jess” Malabanan, a correspondent for Reuters, Manila Standard and Bandera, was shot dead inside his family’s store in Calbayog, Western Samar last December 8 at around 6 PM. This was confirmed by his wife Mila.
58-year-old Malabanan died instantly from a head shot, she told reporters by phone.
“We were watching television when a shot rang at close range,” Mila said. “I didn’t see the gunman because it was dark.”
Malabanan was a defense reporter until he transferred to Pampanga in the 1990s.
The Pampanga Press Club has condemned the killing, urging the Philippine National Police to get Malabanan’s killers and put them in jail.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its 2021 Global Impunity Index report, the Philippines is the seventh deadliest country in the world for journalists. This is in terms of killings that remained unsolved.
The report came on the heels of Maria Ressa, chief executive of news outlet Rappler which the current administration has attacked several times, winning the Nobel Peace Prize for “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition of democracy and lasting peace.” Ressa shares the award with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
278 journalists globally were killed from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2021. 226 murders or 81% of the total cases, still have no convictions.
Photo: The Times