RICO Osmeña, block-time radio commentator of DYLA radio, survived a gun attack last December 16, 2021 while he was riding a Beep minibus on Urdaneta Street on its way to Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City.

He had just finished his broadcast at the radio station at the pier area and was commuting for home when two men on a motorcycle trailed the bus, one of whom shot him on the left side of the vehicle. Another passenger, an unidentified woman, was grazed in the head.

He suffered from two bullet wounds, inflicted by a .45 caliber gun: one in his neck and the other in his back. He said earlier he’d need six months to one year therapy.

[Related: Seares: Broadcaster Rico Osmeña, who survived December 16 gun attack, hopes to go back on air, January 14, 2022]

This week, more than 300 days after the shooting, Explainer learned from Osmeña -- whose full name is Isabelo “Rico” Mirasol Osmeña -- that the two gunmen were still not identified and his case still cannot be considered cleared or solved. Osmeña, also a stringer for “Daily Tribune,” said Tuesday (October 25, 2022) he still lives “in isolation” and doesn’t go out except for medical checkup and prayer meeting accompanied by his family.

THREAT CONTINUES. Radioman Osmeña -- whose father Miling, Rico says, is half-brother of former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña and former senator John “Sonny” Osmeña, both deceased -- said Tuesday he’d still feel the threat on his life, especially when he’d talk about the smuggling case in his radio program, which he believes was the motive for the 2021 attempt to kill him.

Last February 22, 2002, the Cebu City Police Office said then Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Dionardo Carlos ordered for a security detail on Osmeña. Earlier, Rico Osmeña said the police offered him escorts, which he declined “because of the expense.” He told Explainer he has placed his trust in God.

Osmeña’s case drew new interest from Cebu’s public amid the current controversy in the October 3, 2022 murder of Manila-based veteran broadcaster Percy Lapid who was gunned down September by a hired killer.

The gunman, who surrendered to the police, confessed to the killing, and implicated a middleman and some persons of interest, among whom was the possible mastermind.

‘COLD CASE’ PASSED ON TO CIDG. A Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), formed last February 3, 2022 to crack Rico Osmeña’s case, was presumably disbanded on or about August 3, 2022, or six months after it was organized, when the case was still not cleared or solved. Osmeña said SITG “passed it (on) to CIDG-7.” The case is deemed “cold” after a half-year investigation by SITG exhausts “all probative leads” and yet fails to solve or clear it.

Under the police SOP (standard operation procedure), an SITG is created whenever a major crime of violence occurs in the region, province or city. The crime under the original memo-circular in 2012 must be “sensational and heinous.”

Under the existing PNP Manual of Operations, the basic requirement is that the victim is a vice governor, Provincial Board member, vice mayor, councilor, barangay captain, judge, prosecutor, a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, a militant, or -- here it is -- a media practitioner. Higher officials and personalities get their SITG on the national level or the PNP chief orders its creation.

The SITG is a status symbol of sort but, more important, it is composed of officials from various units and can tap the work force and funds of PNP agencies. Supervisor of Osmeña SITG was Police Regional Office-Central Visayas deputy regional director for operations Police Colonel Roderick Minong and Police Colonel Ernesto Salvador Tagle of the Cebu City Police Office. The high-caliber police personalities oversee the work of such teams as the Investigation Team, Technical/Legal Support Team, Evidence Team and Case Record Team, with access to support in personnel and money from other units.

That SITG, named after Osmeña in his full real name, failed to identify, much more catch the persons who wanted Rico killed. The investigation though is supposed to continue, but no longer with the resources and clout of the SITG. It’s now just the CIDG trying to heat a cold case.

OSMEÑA’S LAMENT. The broadcast commentator said he never had a talk with SITG. “Once they invited me to personally appear (before them) but later requested for a video call (instead).” Rico said the video call didn’t happen.

That might mean he didn’t have the chance to tell them about his theory on the motive of the gun attack although he had said on air and in the talk with Explainer that he suspected smugglers of “carrots’veggies” who “got angry” with him. It could be that at the time the SITG was already dissolved but he felt he should’ve been at least told what was going on.

[Related: Explainer: Broadcaster Rico Osmeña thinks his expose on smuggling of carrots and cabbages in Cebu prompted the assault, January 21, 2022.]

“They shoot radio commentators,” Osmeña said in his update on his case, “to silence us...from telling the truth.”

“Frustrating lang,” he added, “that media organizations forget...in my case, nahilom and police beat?” He must be referring to the lack of stories about how his case was moving, or not moving.