MANILA - The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said on Wednesday that a radio broadcaster, who allegedly received threats from Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro, was shot dead Tuesday night.
In a statement, the task force said radio anchor Christopher Lozada was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Barangay Coleta, Bislig City at around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
It said the police have been instructed to investigate the killing, which the task force categorized as a media killing under President Duterte's Administrative Order No. 1.
"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," the statement read.
Lozada reportedly received threats from Navarro for filing a grave misconduct complaint against the mayor. The Office of the Ombudsman last month ordered Navarro's removal from his post.
"Lozada further suspected that Navarro wanted him killed because the Office of the Ombudsman ordered his removal as mayor based on the complaint for grave misconduct he filed against the latter," the task force said.
It added that the mayor reportedly sent a message to Lozada "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."
The PTFoMS issued a "red-flag warning" against Navarro for threatening Lozada, but did not reach the mayor before the radio anchor's death.
"On October 24, PTFoMS sent a strongly-worded letter to Navarro, warning him 'to desist from threatening Christopher Lozada' and stating, 'in case any untoward incident happens to him, we will include you (the mayor) as possible perpetrator of the same.' Sadly, Lozada was killed even before the letter-warning could reach the mayor," the task force said.
Lozada was offered security assistance but declined because he had already filed a complaint and requested security from the police, according to the task force.
However, Lozada dropped his request for security detail "for reasons known only to him."
"PTFoMS again offered security detail from the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) but he declined. He said he just wanted to document the threats against him so that in case he is harmed, PTFoMS could run after the mayor," the task force said.
The task force said Lozada went to Department of Interior and Local Government on Monday to urge the agency to immediately serve Navarro's dismissal.
"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," it said.
The task force also vowed to file a case against Lozada's killers.
"We will take active participation in the filing of case against the perpetrators of his murder, furnishing the police and the prosecutors' office, all documentary evidence we have collated," it said. --With a report from Richmond Hinayon, ABS-CBN News