According to the police report, the two assailants have not been arrested.
Malabanan was a Pampanga correspondent for the national newspaper, Manila Standard Today and was part of the Reuters team in 2018 who won the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for reporting on the Philippine war on drugs. According to the Pulitzer citation, the stories exposed “the brutal killing campaign behind Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.”
Reports suggest Malabanan received threats whilst living in Pampanga, following which he decided to move to Samar in central Philippines. The nature and the extent of these threats are not known.
The IFJ is currently investigating Malabanan’s death and whether it was related to his work.
Prior to Malabanan’s killing, the NUJP reported that 21 journalists have been murdered since Duterte assumed power in 2016.