IN A span of two weeks, three broadcasters were murdered in Mindanao and one survived a shooting in Iloilo on Tuesday night.
Joash Dignos, Valencia City (November 29); Michael Milo, Tandag, Surigao del Sur, (December 7) and Rogelio Butalid, Tagum City, December 11. They are the 19th, 20th, and 21st since President Benigno Aquino III took office and the 159th, 160th and 161st since “democracy” was restored in 1986. A claim that becomes more tenuous with each media killing according to a statement sent by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines to the media.
The NUJP reported that two radio broadcasters were shot in separate incidents in cities of Tagum and Iloilo between Tuesday night – the day the world commemorated the International Human Rights day, until Wednesday morning when Rogelio “Tata” Butalid died on the spot in Tagum City, making him the third journalist murdered in a span of two weeks.
Record from the Tagum City Police Office showed that the incident happened around 9 a.m. at corner Sobrecary Street and Roxas Street in Barangay South. The victim was shot while going out of the radio station.
"The victim went out and was about to go home after holding his radio program at their station when two unidentified men onboard a motorcycle arrived and shot him (Butalid) several times," Chief Inspector Jed Clamor, Davao Police Regional Officer spokesperson said in an interview.
Clamor said based on the report of Tagum police, the victim succumbed to several gunshot wounds in different parts of his body. The cadaver of the victim was brought to Angel Funeral Parlor in Tagum, he added.
Tagum's Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) recovered from the crime six empty shells and one deformed slug believed to be bullets from a caliber.45 pistol, while other officers are already investigating the incident.
Butalid, also a councilor of Barangay (village) Mankilam, had been working for community radio since his college days. Before the killing, his commentaries reportedly focused on electric power issues in Davao del Norte province according to a news report published at Davaotoday.com.
The Davao del Norte Press & Radio-TV Club (DNPRC) strongly condemns the brutal killing of Butalid.
Butalid according to DNPRC anchored a block time radio program for Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative-National Electrification Administration (Daneco-NEA). He was a hard hitting radioman in his program outside of Daneco.
On Tuesday night, unidentified assailants shot and wounded radio reporter Jhonavin Villalba, 43, of dyOK Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.
Villalba was opening the gate of his home in Barangay Cuartero when two men aboard a motorcycle fired shots at him, according to Iloilo NUJP chapter.
The Iloilo-based commentator was hit in his toe and ankle, and was immediately rushed to Iloilo Mission Hospital for treatment.
Investigators found spent shells of .9mm calibre at the crime scene.
On December 6, Prime FM national supervisor and program director Michael Milo was shot dead, also by unidentified gunmen, in Tandag City.
Milo was driving along Barangay Mabua when the motorcycle gunmen riding suspects riddled him with bullets.
The NUJP Media Safety Office in Mindanao is currently investigating if Milo's killing is work-related.
If also proven work-related, Butalid and Milo would be the 160th and 161st journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986.
A week earlier, on November 29, Bukidnon-based commentator Joash Dignos was shot dead in Valencia City. The motive appears to be work-related.
Dignos was buried on December 4. The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Dignos filed murder case against Dionisio Daulong, an escapee from Valencia City Jail on December 3. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/With reports form Sun.Star Davao)