CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A radio broadcaster was shot dead in Barangay (village) Don Enrique Lopez, Mati at around 2:00 p.m. last 8 May 2012. Mati is the capital of Davao Oriental, a province approximately 1,027 kilometers south of Manila.
Nelson Libaton and his companion, reporter Eldon Cruz, were on their way home from an interview in Barangay Ompao, Tarragona town when a man riding on a motorcycle with two other unidentified men shot him in the back. Cruz was unharmed.
Nella Duallo, a news writer at dxHM, told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) last 9 May 2012 that Libaton and Cruz went to Ompao to interview barangay officials on the ongoing festival. On their way home, Libaton and Cruz heard a gunshot from behind and saw the attackers approaching.
Duallo said Cruz wanted to make a run for it but Libaton went down the motorcycle to allegedly confront the gunman. In a phone interview with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Cruz said that they have no idea they were being followed.
The motive behind the killing is still unknown, said Police Chief Inspector Dominador Cruda IV. Cruda told CMFR that the police are still investigating the killing and interviewing witnesses. The police are also reviewing records of Libaton’s radio programs.
Libaton hosted three shows for dxHM, namely the “Abante Caraga”, “Eskrima sa Barangay, Eskrima sa Tanginabuhi”, and “Mati Vice-mayor Report”. He worked for dxHM for about twenty years. DxHM is an AM station in Mati City Davao Oriental. It is part of the Catholic Media Network.
In an earlier interview, Davao Oriental Police Senior Superintendent Perpeto Macion told CMFR that the motive for the killing may not be work-related as the station primarily broadcasts more religious matters.