A CARAGA politician on Wednesday, October 25, denied having a hand in the killing of a radio commentator in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, last Tuesday, October 24.
Bislig mayor Librado Navarro said he is innocent and even condemned the death of Christopher Lozada, 29, who was gunned down by still unidentified assailants.
Lozada, host of the Prime Broadcasting Network’s radio program “Kuskos-Batikos,” was killed inside his car while on his way home with his girlfriend, Honey Faith Indog, who survived the attack.
“I can hold my head up high and say I am innocent and my conscience is clear,” said Navarro in an interview here Wednesday afternoon.
Navarro was in Cagayan de Oro to attend the three-day 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) held in a mall, on October 24 to 26.
The mayor is the executive vice president of the League of Organic Agriculture of Municipalities and Cities of the Philippines.
Lozada’s killing happened while Navarro was in the city attending the NOAC.
“He is like a son to me,” Navarro said of the killed mediaman whom he claimed as “very close” to him, adding his mother is related to the Lozadas. In fact, he added, his family was supportive of him politically.
On October 14, a few days before he was killed, Lozada posted on his Facebook account a graphic containing an alleged order by Navarro to have him killed for P85,000.
In that FB post, a heated exchange of comments between Lozada and Navarro could be seen.
The following day, October 15, Lozada posted a screen shot of a text message from an unknown source threatening him, saying he only had 95 days to live.
Navarro also admitted he filed three counts of libel against Lozada in 2012 in relation to the work-related and personal criticisms the radio commentator hurled at him on-air. The case is pending in court.
He said: “I am open to any investigation and I will face in court anybody who’s interested to file (cases against me),” he added.
Once he gets back to Bislig, Navarro said he will “look into it (Lozada’s killing)” and order “a fair and proper investigation of the case be extended to the family so the truth will come out.”
In its previous statement, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has condemned the series of media-related killings in the country saying these acts highlight the “culture of impunity in the attacks against and killings of Filipino journalists that have remained unabated despite an international outcry.”