A selection of news and feature stories written and photographed for Rappler/UCANews. More at my Muckrack profile.


Half-empty homes: The teenagers killed in 2017

Almost every month in 2017, at least one teenager was killed by unidentified assailants or fatally shot in a police operation.

Based on media reports gathered from January 1 to December 28, at least 28 teenagers were killed in 2017, more than 70% of whom are minors. The youngest was 13.

These teenagers are tagged either as criminals or “collateral damage” in the Duterte administration's war on drugs.


Parents of slain teen Reynaldo de Guzman have no more tears

 For more than two weeks since Lina and Eduardo Gabriel last saw their son, they searched police stations, funeral homes, streets, and alleys of nearby and distant cities, hoping to find him.

They finally saw Reynaldo – Kulot to family and friends – on Wednesday, September 6, in a Facebook post that showed a corpse floating on a creek in a village more than a hundred kilometers away from where they lived.

20170820 Kian Delos Santos wake_02.jpg


My series of reports on the controversial death of 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos, who was shot and killed in a police operation in Baesa, Caloocan on August 2017. Police claimed he was involved in illegal drugs. Thousands flocked to the streets to protest. 

Our son, Kian: A good, sweet boy / profile

The dark alley to kian delos santos' death / video

Kin of others killed in police ops march for Kian / in photos

Kian's friends urge Caloocan cops: 'Aminin 'nyo na lang po'

Last vigil for kian

Kian is your conscience 


CHR team finds detainees in 'secret' police cell / news

MANILA, Philippines – In an unannounced jail visit Thursday, April 27, a team from the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) found about 12 men and women allegedly illegally detained in a "lock-up cell" hidden behind a bookshelf in Police Station 1 in Tondo, Manila.



Filipino father carries cross of son's murder / feature

MANILA, Philippines - Steve Mendoza recently buried his 23-year old son, Alvin Jhon, in a cemetery in Manila’s financial district Makati.

It was his last moment with his son who would have looked like he was just sleeping if not for the color of his hands, which had turned greenish.

Steve stood beside the coffin. He was wearing a shirt bearing the face of the Black Nazarene. He stood out in the middle of the crowd who were all wearing shirts with Alvin's face printed on them along with the word "Justice" in big bold red letters.

Steve clutched a .38 caliber bullet. He held it tight as he whispered, "Son, this is the kind of bullet that killed you. This will be the same bullet that will avenge you."


Trafficking victims find refuge in 'center of hope' / feature

MANILA, Philippines - While most children played outside, Marta Estrada (not her real name) played hostess to men online.

Marta was robbed of her childhood when she was eight years old. A neighbor recruited the young girl to become a cybersex star.

"I did not know that what I was doing was wrong," she says. "He told me it was just a show."


Black Nazarene mementos are a way of life for vendors / feature

Between trendy clothes and garments printed with cartoon characters hanging in a shop in Manila's Quiapo district, the face of the Black Nazarene is plastered on a mix of yellow and maroon shirts.

The Black Nazarene, a wooden life-size statue of Jesus Christ, was brought to the Philippines from Mexico by Augustinian friars in 1606. The statue is believed to have turned black after surviving a fire on the ship that brought it to the country.

The image on the shirts, sold in the streets of Quiapo, are printed using silk-screens, some by way of gas-powered paint, while the others, dubbed to be "high-quality," are printed manually on the garment. A small shop inside the busy public market beside the church prints at least 200 shirts a day during the week-long celebration of the Nazarene's feast.