MALACAÑANG on Wednesday condemned the murder of Catanduanes resident Larry Que, the first journalist killed under the Duterte administration.
“We condemn the violence perpetuated against journalists, and we call on the authorities to investigate the matter so that justice will be served,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters.
Larry Que, a columnist and publisher of the two-week-old community newspaper Catanduanes News Now, was shot in the head on Tuesday by a gunman wearing a bonnet and a raincoat. The gunman then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
Que was killed after he wrote a column criticizing local officials following the recent discovery of a shabu laboratory in the province.
He had criticized what he called the local officials’ negligence, which he said allowed the setting up in Catanduanes of a recently raided shabu laboratory. Authorities claimed it was the biggest shabu lab discovered so far.
The International Federation of Journalists also condemned Que’s killing in light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
“Que’s murder demonstrates the increasing challenges that journalists in the Philippines face reporting on drugs,” said IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger.
“Action needs to be taken by the Duterte administration to guarantee the safety and security of the media across the country, and to work to strengthen the freedom of the press to report on stories of public interest.”
The IFJ and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called on the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media to “immediately investigate the murder.”