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Cops arrest suspect in tabloid reporter’s killing


Police have arrested at least one suspect in the fatal shooting of tabloid reporter Nerlita 'Nerlie' Ledesma in Bataan province last week.
 
Bataan police chief Senior Superintendent Rodel Sermonia described the suspect as a gun-for-hire but did not make public the suspect's name, radio dzBB reported Monday.
 
Sermonia was quoted in the dzBB report as saying that police are still getting additional information on the killing.
 
He also said the suspect was arrested with the help of witnesses.
 
Ledesma had reportedly received death threats before she was gunned down, even as Balanga police head Superintendent Frederick Obar said they are still determining if her killing was related to her work as a reporter.
 
Obar said they are also looking into information a land dispute could have been the motive for the killing.
 
Local and international media watchdog groups had denounced the killing, and called on the government to act immediately against violence against journalists.
 
One group, the International Federation of Journalists, cited initial findings showing Ledesma, 48, was waiting for a ride to work when she was shot in the chest in Barangay Tuyo in Balanga City in Bataan.
 
It added initial information showed the assailant was wearing sunglasses, a bonnet and a jacket and fled on a black and white motorcycle.
 
"Ledesma is the first journalist to be killed in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015. It is yet to be determined if her murder was related to her work," IFJ said. 

On the other hand, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said that if the attack is proven to be related to Ledesma's work as a journalist, the incident would bring to 172 the total number of journalists slain since 1986 and the 31st under the present administration. — Joel Locsin/RSJ, GMA News