Tabloid reporter shot in Cavite; NPC says election-relatedBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna—A correspondent of tabloid People’s Tonight was shot by two unidentified gunmen near his home in Bacoor City in Cavite Wednesday morning, the authorities said.
Domingo “Jun” Baldecantos, 45, was walking home after taking his son to school in Barangay Mambog II, when one of two men, onboard a motorcycle, shot him twice in the back at around 9:20 a.m., according to Bacoor City police chief Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza, in a phone interview.
Baldecantos, a member of the National Press Club, was brought to the Medical Center Imus, in adjacent Imus City, to undergo an operation, said NPC president Benny Antiporda, who visited him in the hospital.
Antiporda, in a phone interview, believed the attempt to silence Baldecantos is related to the upcoming elections as the victim is known to be “critical” of political figures in Cavite.
Local reporters in Cavite said that aside from the tabloid, Baldecantos also used to write for a local newspaper that favored a known candidate in the May elections.
“We are shocked and hurt. This is the first (attack on media, in connection to the 2013 elections). And unless President Noynoy (Aquino) acts on it, these (attacks) would continue,” Antiporda added.
Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) police director Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona said Baldecantos himself had identified one of the gunmen, who both wore black jackets, when he was interviewed by the police at the hospital.
Estipona said a manhunt was ongoing to track down the assailants.
Cavite is one of the 15 provinces identified by Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as “high risks” for election violence.
In a press briefing held Tuesday at the Laguna police headquarters, Estipona said the police are hunting down at least four organized crime groups in the region. He said the police would beef up its election security plan and operations against loose firearms as election nears.