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Soldiers gun down Masbate journalist in alleged encounter
Photo shows Ronnie Villamor. VIllamor, 50, was shot dead by members of the army after he supposedly drew a firearm when he was ordered to stop as he rode his motorcycle.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

Soldiers gun down Masbate journalist in alleged encounter

(Philstar.com) - November 17, 2020 - 5:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Soldiers killed Saturday a stringer for a Masbate tabloid and pastor in what they described as an encounter — an allegation that colleagues of the journalist say is untrue.

Citing a police report, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported Tuesday that Ronnie Villamor, 50, was shot dead by members of the army after he supposedly drew a firearm when he was ordered to stop as he rode his motorcycle.

Army troops, led by 2nd Lieutenant Maydim Jomadil, told police that they were investigating the presence of five armed men in Barangay Matanglad who allegedly fled as they approached.

But colleagues of Villamor tell a different story, according to the union.

They said that the freelance journalist went to Matanglad with four surveyors from Legazpi City at the request of a landowner to provide media coverage of the survey, which a local journalist says is typical for such activities as owners involved in disputes believe that the presence of the media would prevent violence.

Villamor’s colleagues also said that he and his colleagues even coordinated with the local police and informed them of why they were going to Matanglad.

But they said that the survey did not happen as a group of soldiers supposedly prevented Villamor’s group from pushing through.

Villamor then decided to phone local police for assistance, his colleagues said. It was then that several gunshots were heard and Villamor was killed.

According to NUJP’s tally, Villamor is the fourth journalist to be killed in Masbate, the 19th slain during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and the 191st since 1986.

His killing comes only four days after Virgilio Maganes was shot dead by unknown assailants onboard a motorcycle outside of his home in Villasis, Pangasinan. — Xave Gregorio

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
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