Lee, an American citizen who has a permanent residency in the Philippines, was shot in the face, with the bullet exiting his neck, and he was also shot in the back. Police have not identified the suspect and motives behind the assault.
Lee had just picked up his daughter from school when he was shot. He had serious wounds but was still conscious when he was taken to the Lagawe hospital. He was then transferred to Bayombong and Baguio General Hospital.
Lee is a correspondent to report on Ifugao events and issues for Nordis, a weekly newspaper covering the three regions of Northern Luzon. He started as a contributor in 2010.
In 2015, Lee was one of a group of human rights defenders who was threatened with a traditional burial blanket. He was threatened, after the military tagged him and several activists as supporters and recruiters of the New People’s Army (NPA).
NUJP in its statemen said the separate incidents, including the attack on Lee and the accusation of the journalists, activists, and media outlets has proven that authorities are unable to accept and tolerate criticism and dissent.
“Those in this dispensation who are actively involved in attempts to intimidate the media should be warned that not only will your efforts be in vain, there will be an accounting and you will be made answerable for your willful participation in these attacks on freedom of the press and of expression and other basic human rights,” NUJP added in its statement.
The IFJ said: “We have condemned attack and also ongoing threats against journalists and media organisations in the Philippines. We call on the authorities to investigate the assault immediately and to ensure that those responsible of the assault are found and brought to justice in a trial.”