MalacaÑang has condemned the killing of tabloid reporter
Nerlita Ledesma and directed the police to hunt down her assailants. Ledesma is the 172nd journalist to be killed in the Philippines since 1986.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government wants justice for Ledesma who was shot dead by unidentified men in Balanga City early Thursday morning.
“Kinokondena at ikinalulungkot namin ang pagpaslang kaninang umaga kay Binibining ‘Nerlie’ Ledesma ng pahayagang Abante [We condemn the killing of Ms. ‘Nerlie’ Ledesma of Abante this morning],” Coloma told reporters in a press conference.
The National Press Club (NPC), to which Ledesma is a member, also condemned the attack.
“We condemn the latest attack on another member of the press. We demand no less than the capture of her attacker and all those who may have planned the hit,” NPC president Joel Egco said.
Ledesma’s killing came a day before NPC officials were to meet with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the press group’s role in the Interagency Task Force on Extrajudicial Killings.
Coloma said that the Philippine National Police is already doing hot pursuit operations against the suspected assailants.
“They are under instructions to exert utmost efforts in bringing the assailants to the bar of justice,” Coloma said.
Ledesma, 47, was gunned down 300 meters away from her house in Sitio San Rafael, Barangay Tuyo, Balanga City. She works as a radio news anchor with Power Radio in Balanga City and with the Provincial Information Office at the Bataan capitol. She was also president of the 200-member Tagnai Homeowners Association in Phase 2 of San Rafael.
Initial investigation showed that she was waiting for a tricycle on her way to work on Thursday morning when two still unidentified men, riding a motorcycle, stopped and gunned her down.
She sustained four gunshot wounds mostly on the chest and died on the spot. Her body sprawled on the concrete road near a small bridge with rows of houses.
Police investigators recovered four empty shells and a slug from caliber .45 revolver near the body of victim.
The Abante reporter, a native of Virac, Catanduanes.
Her husband, former seaman Esteban “Jun” Ledesma, cried for justice as he stressed that his wife did nothing wrong to anyone and that she helped those without houses to gain access to housing units.