TREVOR ISBELL WRITES – Filipino media violence has steadily risen ever since November of 2009, when leaders of a political clan and their “private army” massacred 58 people, 32 of which were journalists, in Maguindanao province. Now the problem continues, as media professionals around the country are constantly putting their lives at risk.

Suspect's Sketch

Police sketch of one of the assailants.

Recently, another victim has just been reported dead as of April 6. Rubylita Garcia, a 52-year-old reporter for Remate in the city of Cavite, was shot multiple times just outside of her own residence. Both her son and her 10-year-old granddaughter stood just inside the house, helplessly watching the horrible scene unfold. The assailants were said to have been unmasked, but still unidentified. A single police sketch of one of the suspected shooters has been released to the public in an attempt for identification verification.

Garcia was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency care, but eventually passed away at 3 p.m. that same day.

This incident made her death the 20th media related death during Aquino’s presidency, which began in June of 2010. This statistic is even more concerning when we consider the number of deaths that are left out due to the strict definition of what qualifies as “media related.”

Remate reported that, just before her death, Garcia told her son that Police Superintendent Conrado Villanueva had likely planned the shooting. Garcia and Villanueva were said to have been seen engaging in an aggressive verbal argument with one another just days before the incident. In light of the allegation, Villanueva has been ordered to take administrative relief pending the investigation. The police department has urged that it be made clear that these actions do not necessarily mean that Villanueva is considered a suspect at this time.

The question then remains: Is the corruption within the government of the Philippines once again striking out against its own people, or has the free press’s determination to disclose every act of governmental corruption developed into a mass state hysteria and wrongful governmental superstition and accusation?