[Philippines] Radio Broadcaster Shot Dead in Surigao del Sur

Originally published on the CMFR website on 7 November 2017.

 

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Unidentified men shot and killed a local radio broadcaster and injured his partner Tuesday night, 24 October 2017 in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Surigao del Sur is 1298 kilometers south of Manila.

According to the police spot report, Christopher Iban Lozada, operations manager and anchor of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network, was driving home with his partner Honey Faith Indog when gunmen aboard a gray van fired at their vehicle. Lozada was killed on the spot while Indog sustained a gunshot wound in the shoulder. Police said the gunmen used high-powered rifles in the attack.

Prior to the incident, Lozada had received multiple death threats which he believed were from Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro. Lozada was involved in the filing of a complaint against Navarro regarding an anomalous PHP14.7 M purchase of a hydraulic excavator in 2012. Last month, Navarro, with 11 others, was found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman. Lozada had gone to the regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government a day before he was killed to press the agency to implement the dismissal order.

One of the threats, which Lozada posted in his Facebook account, was a text message in the vernacular saying “I will step down from my position but I will take you with me—you’ll go straight to the cemetery.”

Because of the  threats, Lozada filed a complaint before the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS). On October 24, PTFoMS responded by issuing a red-flag letter warning to Navarro, stating that “in case any untoward incident happens to him (Lozada), you (Navarro) will be included as a possible perpetrator of the same.” Lozada, however, was killed even before the letter could reach Navarro.

If proven work-related, Lozada’s killing  will be the 156th in the list of journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986 and the fourth under the Duterte regime.