Bislig mayor eyed in broadcaster’s slay

A mayor may face investigations for the killing of a broadcaster and the wounding of his companion in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur Tuesday night.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said slain broadcaster Christopher Lozada has formally notified them of death threats he received from Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro before his death.

According to PTFoMs, Lozada informed them the mayor texted him “to leave Bislig if you do not want to die” and that “he would step down with Lozada who will go to the cemetery since his days are numbered.”

“As a matter of policy, PTFoMS presumes Lozada’s death as a media killing and falls under its mandate in relation to Administrative Order No. 1 (AO1) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to protect the life, liberty, and security of media workers,” its statement on the killing yesterday said.

PTFoMS issued a red-flag letter warning Navarro but Lozada was killed on the night the letter was sent to the mayor.

Aside from informing the PTFoMS his life was being threatened by the mayor, Lozada also repeatedly alleged on his Facebook account Navarro’s threats against him.

PTFoMS’s red flag letter to Navarro ordered the local executive to “desist from threatening Christopher Lozada” adding, “in case any untoward incident happens to him, we will include you (the mayor) as possible perpetrator of the same.”

Lozada, host of Prime Broadcasting Network DXBF’s radio program “Kuskos-Batikos,” was shot together with his companion Honey Faith Tuyco Indog on their way home on board their Toyota Vios with Plate No. LGY 124 at Purok 5, Barangay Coleto, Bislig City where he resided.

Lozada led the filing of a complaint against Navarro and 16 other city hall officials with the Office of the Ombudsman which subsequently found the mayor guilty of graft and corruption and ordered his dismissal.

Lozada visited the regional Department of Interior and Local Government office Monday to follow up on the Ombudsman’s order.

“We learned he went to the DILG the day before he was killed to press the agency to immediately serve the dismissal order, which sources say triggered the ambush. He even posted on social media photos of the said visit to DILG,” PTFoMS said.

Navarro claimed he is innocent about Lozada’s killing.

Mayor claims innocence

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in Cagayan de Oro City, Navarro maintained his innocence and even condemned Lozada’s killing.

“I can hold my head up high and say I am innocent and my conscience is clear,” Navarro said Wednesday.

Navarro was in Cagayan de Oro Tuesday to attend the three-day 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) of the League of Organic Agriculture of Municipalities and Cities of the Philippines where he is executive vice president.

“He is like a son to me,” Navarro said of Lozada, whom he claimed was “very close” to him as they were related.

In fact, he told PNA, his family was supportive of Lozada politically.

In a Facebook post, Lozada said he had nothing personal against the mayor, also saying they were in fact related.

On Oct. 14, a few days before he was killed, however, Lozada posted on his Facebook account a graphic containing an alleged order by Navarro to have him killed for P85,000 which resulted in a heated exchange of comments between them.

The following day, Oct. 15, Lozada posted a screenshot of a text message from an unknown source saying he only had 95 days to live.

Navarro has filed three counts of libel case against Lozada in 2012 in relation to the work-related and personal criticisms Lozada hurled against him on-air.

The cases are still being tried in court.

“I am open to any investigation and I will face in court anybody who’s interested to file (cases against me),” Navarro told PNA, adding he would “look into it (Lozada’s killing)” and order “a fair and proper investigation of the case be extended to the family so the truth will come out.”


The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Lozada’s killing, if work-related, may be the fifth case of media killing under the Rodrigo Duterte government and the 178th case of media killing since 1986.

 In a statement Thursday, the NUJP said Lozada’s murder shows how impunity has become so entrenched in the Philippines.

“That Lozada’s killers got him indicates that they were not the least bit worried about being caught,” the NUJP said.

“As experience has taught us, most often the reason for this is that the killers are under the protective mantle of someone powerful or influential enough who is also most likely is the mastermind,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Bicol broadcaster survives attack

Carlos ‘Caloy’ Sasis. (Photo by Angel de Mesa, Baretang Bikolnon)

A Bicol broadcaster survived an attack by two gunmen earlier this week as he was about to park his car in front of their radio station in Legazpi City.

Carlos Sasis, 41, anchor of daily radio program “Dos Manos” over Zagitsit News FM 100.3 told independent media outfit Baretang Bikolnon he heard gunshots and bullets hitting the wheels of his car just as he arrived at the station.

Sasis added he saw a bulky gunman trying to reload his gun after the first volley of fire.

The victim said he believed the attack was meant to harass him, “because if they really wanted to kill me, they should have just shot me straight, not (at) my car.”

Baretang Bikolnon quoted a witness as saying the gunmen had coffee at an eatery in front of the radio station along Imelda C. Roces Avenua in Barangay Gogon before the shooting.

Asked for possible motives behind the attack, Sasis said he himself was puzzled.

“I cannot think of any reason for them to do this to me. Personally, I do not aggravate anyone, even at my service as a barangay official,” he stated.

Sasis is a councilor of Barangay Cabangan, Camalig, Albay Province.

Police recovered three spent cartridges and an unspent bullet from the scene.

Baretang Bikolnon reported the police is in possession of a “clear footage from the CCTV.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines issued an alert on the attack Friday.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) for its part said they have already sent a team to Legazpi City Thursday to conduct an investigation.

“We are on it,” PTFoMS executive director and Presidential Communications Office Undersecretary Jose Joel M. Sy Egco said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva / Photos by Angel de Mesa, Baretang Bikolnon)



Columnist-publisher is first journalist killed under Duterte

A columnist and publisher is the first media killing victim under the Rodrigo Duterte government.

Larry Que of the two-week old community newspaper Catanduanes News Now died 1:45 a.m. Tuesday after he was shot by a gunman wearing a bonnet and raincoat who then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice Monday morning in Virac.

Que’s murder came after he wrote a column criticizing local officials following the recent discovery of a shabu laboratory in the province.

Que’s column, written in Bicolano, blamed the negligence of local government leaders for the shame the discovery of the laboratory had brought the province.

He also wrote it was likely the Chinese nationals who set up the laboratory had help from Chinese residents of the island province.


In a statement, the Catanduanes chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philppines (NUJP) said Que’s murder has sown fear within the local media community.

It said a number of journalists fear they might be the next target for their reports on the shabu laboratory, said to be the largest discovered in the country.

NUJP-Catanduanes also said Broadcaster Jinky Tabor revealed she received threats after acting as media witness during the police raid on the shabu laboratory.

Last November 8, Northern Watch columnist and dwPR broadcaster Virgilio Maganes survived a slay try by playing dead after a gunman shot him inside a tricycle he was riding to the radio station in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

The NUJP said the suspects tried to make the slay try on Maganes appear to be a drug-related hit as the victim saw a cardboard with a “Pusher Ako Huwag Tularan (I am a pusher, do not be like me)” written on it.

“This added dimension to the thankfully unsuccessful attempt on Maganes’ life highlights the increasing risks faced not only by journalists but by most anyone who may be killed with impunity in the name of the government’s war on drugs,” the NUJP at the time noted. (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

July 1, 2016

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the assassination attempt on our Surigao City colleague Saturnino “Jan” Estanio of Radio Mindanao Network-dxRS, which left him, his 12-year old son, and a neighbor slightly wounded. Read more

STATEMENT: Journalists are not the enemy

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte errs in declaring that most journalists are being killed for being corrupt and in implying that only corrupt journalists have been killed in the Philippines. While corruption is a continuing problem in the press and media, it is simply not true that most of the journalists killed in the line of duty were killed because they were corrupt. On the contrary. Most of those killed were in fact exposing corruption and criminal activities in the communities, and for their social and political advocacies. The Pagadian city journalist Edgar Damalerio was killed in 2003 for exposing wrongdoing in the local government; Marlene Esperat was killed in Tacurong city for exposing anomalies in the Department of Agriculture; and Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega was killed for his environmental advocacy in Puerto Princesa. Read more

OPEN LETTER: It’s about the culture of impunity in our country!

3 June 2016

Dear President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,

That was quite a mouthful you unleashed on media Thursday night. We do appreciate your reminder that, yes, we journalists are not a uniformly lily-white breed, in fact none of us are, although we would not go so far as to consider ourselves in the same line of work as publicists, for theirs is a totally different field as you yourself pointed out. Read more

STATEMENT: Nothing justifies the murder of journalists!

It is appalling that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should justify the murder of journalists in the country by playing the corruption card.

In his press conference in Davao City Tuesday, Mr. Duterte issued the broad assertion that “most journalists killed are corrupt.”

“Just because you’re a journalist doesn’t mean you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said.

“Freedom of expression won’t save you,” he added. “The Constitution cannot help you kapag binaboy mo ang isang tao.” Read more


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Bayan Muna Reps.Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate condemn the inutility of the Aquino administration in the midst of continuing attacks and threats against the media.

The solons issued the statement in reaction to the ambush by unidentified armed group on an ABS-CBN crew in Marawi, Lanao del Sur last Saturday.

“The sheer inutility of the Aquino government in stopping attacks and threats on journalists and critics of the government in the past five years is the very culprit of this continuing state of impunity in our country,”Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said.

The ambush occurred after a military-backed paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani also openly vowed to ambush journalists covering the anniversary of communist rebels in Surigao del Sur.

“This worsening state of impunity and lawlessness is now becoming a hallmark of the exiting Aquino administration,” said Rep. Zarate, himself a former journalist based in Mindanao.

“In particular, the Magahat-Bagani group are no different from the terrorist group Abu Sayaff by openly uploading a video in social media directly threatening members of the press. Even more dangerous, they also emulate the dreaded Jovito Palparan’s definition of who are their enemies and who are not,” Rep. Zarate said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Colmenares said that “like the case of the infamous 2009 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, the ambush on the ABS-CBN crew and the threats issued by the Magahat-Bagani group is “emblematic of the dangers posed by private armies, militias, and paramilitaries.”

“This lends credence to the existence of government’s policy, tacit or otherwise, of allowing the burgeoning of private armies as pawns of the military and police in the government’s counter-insurgency campaigns,”added Colmenares.

“As a result, human rights abuses – particularly those directed to opposition members or critics of government and its policies – have apparently become part of the political environment because of the failure of the government to bring those responsible to justice. The Aquino administration, he said, is not serious in addressing the problem posed by paramilitary or private armed groups,” said the Makabayan senatorial candidate.

Rep. Zarate added that “contrary to his campaign promise, Pres. Aquino reneged on the revocation of Executive Order 546, issued in 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which allows the arming of paramilitary groups,”

“It was the same EO cited by the Ampatuans to justify the existence of its “private army” to consolidate its dynastic hold of Maguindanao and the ARMM but in the guise of supposedly fighting the Moro rebels,” said Zarate.

“As it is now, Executive Order 546 is still an available tool for warlords, powerful politicians and the military to justify arming these militias for political and economic ends.The Philippines is now ranked as the fourth worst spot where journalists have been murdered without a single perpetrator being convicted, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2015 Global Impunity Index,” he added.

“Since September 2005, at least 44 journalists were murdered with complete impunity, including seven (7) under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III,” ended Zarate. ###

News Release
December 28, 2015
References: Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate