SURIGAO CITY — A community radio broadcaster in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur was shot dead while his live-in partner was wounded in an ambush Tuesday night, police said.
Authorities identified the victim as Christopher Iban Lozada, 29, operations manager and anchor of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network.
Police said Iban was driving home with his live-in partner Honey Faith Indog Tuyco, 25, around 9 p.m. when unidentified gunmen opened fire on them.
Chief Inspector Joseph Gementiza, Bislig City deputy chief of police, said Lozada died instantly. The victim succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds on his chest. Tuyco, who was wounded on her left shoulder, was rushed to the Andres Soriano Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Gementiza said they had yet to determine the motive behind Lozada’s murder.
Police said Lozada had reported receiving multiple death threats days prior to his killing. The victim reported these death threats twice to the local police station, Gementiza said.
Police said Lozada, who anchored a daily commentary program “Batikos”, received threats via text message on September 26, October 12 and October 19. He posted some of these threatening messages on his Facebook account.
Based on the recovered empty shells at the crime scene, police said gunmen armed with AK47 and M16 waylaid Lozada inside his car at Purok 5 in Barangay Coleto, Bislig City.
The radioman was also reportedly involved in the filing of charges against Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro and 11 other local officials who were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman last month.
The case stemmed from an anomalous deal on July 18, 2012, which involved a purchase of a Komatsu crawler-type hydraulic excavator worth P14.7 million from Cebu-based RDAK Transport Equipment, Inc.
Since 2009, the province of Surigao del Sur has recorded a total of seven gun attacks involving radio broadcasters, only one of whom survived.
Among the victims were Godofredo Linao Jr., who was killed in Barobo town on July 27, 2009; Datu Roy Quijada Gallego on October 14, 2011 in Lianga town; Michael Milo on December 8, 2013 in Tandag City; Apolonio Suan, a provincial board member who hosted a radio program over Real FM in Bislig, who was shot on board his van on July 14, 2016; and Joe Climaco, host of a local TV program, who was killed on August 25, 2016.
Last July, a radio broadcaster in Marihatag town in the said province survived a gun attack.
Julito Orillaneda, 35, owner and operator of the dxJB FM, was about to disembark from a tricycle when the gunman on board a motorcycle shot him several times, hitting him in the head, neck, face and right arm.
Of all the incidents, no single suspect has been prosecuted, according to local journalist Judith Suarez. (PNA)