Radio broadcaster killed in the Philippines: police

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 31 2023 10:59 AM | Updated as of May 31 2023 08:07 PM

A radio broadcaster was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calapan City on Wednesday. Photo from Leo De Leon
A radio broadcaster was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calapan City on Wednesday. Photo from Leo De Leon

 P50,000 bounty offered by govt's media protection task force

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — A radio broadcaster was shot dead outside his home in the central Philippines on Wednesday, police said, the latest in a long list of journalists killed in the country.

Cresenciano Bunduquin, 50, was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro province, police Colonel Samuel Delorino told AFP.

One of the assailants died after Bunduquin's son hit the gunmen with his vehicle as they fled the scene of the pre-dawn attack.

"The remaining suspect was able to run off. The hot pursuit operation is still ongoing," said Delorino.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, and most of the killers often go unpunished.

Radio broadcasters outside the capital were often the target.

Bunduquin hosted a program on radio station 101.7 DWXR as well as on Facebook, said station manager Jester Joaquin, who described the broadcaster as "hard-hitting" on local issues.

He had been outspoken about a recent oil spill affecting the province, illegal gambling and politics.

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"He told me before that he's receiving threats but he didn't elaborate," Joaquin told AFP.

"He mentioned to me that he wanted a change in his line of work, that's why he put up a chicken farm, because he wants to go quiet."

Delorino said police were investigating whether Bunduquin had an enemy or a personnel quarrel.

Special Investigation Task Group formed: PNP chief 

In a chance interview with reporters, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda said he already ordered a probe on the killing and even formed a Special Investigation Task Group on this. 

He also assured journalists that they are still safe despite the incident, and even urged those receiving threats to report it to the police and coordinate with them. 

"As of now wala pa tayong nakuhang report but we have created our SITG Bunduquin that will look into this may kinalaman sa trabaho. Aalamin pa natin," said Acorda. 

"This country is still safe for our mediamen. Yan naman ang hinihingi ko, pagtulong tulungan natin especially those may mga nararamdaman na threat. Let us know kung ano yung mga nakikita niyo na problema. Let us be open on this," he said. 

The police chief said cops should be able to assess the situation among media men, "especially in those areas where there intense political rivalries." 

For its part, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security is offering P50,000 reward to whoever could point to the suspect of the killing. 

It also urged journalists "not to engage in any speculation but to instead contribute to its immediate resolution" by providing truthful information. 

The task force said it was also reaching out to Bunduquin's family so they could provide additional help they need. Social Welfare Undersecretary Edu Punay would coordinate with them, the statement read.
Bunduquin is the third journalist to be killed since President Ferdinand Marcos took office last June.

The latest killing comes less than a year after radio personality Percival Mabasa was shot dead in Manila as he drove to his studio.

"Bunduquin's killing further shows that journalists in the Philippines still operate under threat despite our improvement in the press freedom index and the relatively friendlier relations that media has with the current administration," said Jonathan de Santos, chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

"When perpetrators of attacks on media are not held to account and victims of these attacks do not get justice, future attacks become more likely."

The police has formed a special investigation task group (SITG) composed of experienced investigators to look into Bunduquin's killing.

It has identified a person of interest based on follow-up operations and evidence from the crime scene, Oriental Mindoro police chief and SITG commander Col. Samuel Delorono said. 

"We take this incident very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that the death of Bunduquin will be brought to justice," Mimaropa regional police chief BGen. Joel Doria added. 

He also urged those with information on the incident to come forward and speak with the authorities. 

— With a report from Noel Alamar, ABS-CBN News