Three killed in Philippine university shooting

Three people died in a shooting at a university graduation ceremony in the Philippines’ capital region on Sunday, including a former mayor from the volatile south of the country, police said.
Local Quezon City police chief Remus Medina said the shooting appeared to have been an assassination of the former mayor of the southern Lamitan city, Rose Furigay.

Quezon is part of the Manila capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities home to more than 13 million people.

The suspect, who had no relatives at the graduation, was also a native of Lamitan city in Basilan province, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a pro-Islamist State extremist group known for its banditry and kidnapping.

The two others killed were a campus security officer and an unidentified male, the police said.

Ateneo cancelled the graduation ceremony after the shooting.

In the Southeast Asian nation, shooting incidents are sporadic, with owners required to have permits to carry guns in public. Private security officers in the Philippines carry either handguns or shotguns, and firearms are a common sight in shopping malls, offices, banks, restaurants and even schools.

Philippine Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa lost her appeal against a conviction for cyber libel, her news website Rappler said Friday, in the latest blow for the veteran journalist.

Ressa, 58, and her former colleague Rey Santos Jr face lengthy jail sentences, but the company said they will “avail of all legal remedies available to them”, including taking the case to the Supreme Court.

The ruling comes less than two weeks after Philippine authorities ordered Rappler to shut down ahead of outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte’s last day in office.

Rappler on Friday described the decision to uphold the 2020 conviction as “unfortunate”, saying it “weakens the ability of journalists to hold power to account”.

Ressa, who is currently in Manila, has long been a vocal critic of Duterte and the deadly drug war he launched in 2016, triggering what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, probes and online attacks against her and Rappler.

In a statement on Friday, Norwegian Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said: “The criticism voiced through Rappler is well within the freedom of expression in a democratic society.

Its use against journalists was “troubling”, said Jonathan de Santos, chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.