Radio journalist killed in the Philippines

Police authorities here had confirmed that the killing of broadcaster Samuel Oliverio on Friday was because of his work as a media man.

Supt. Querubin Manalang, city police director, said this was confirmed after the two attackers of the 57-year-old broadcaster were positively identified by witnesses.

However, Manalang declined to identify the suspects – said to be killers-for-hire – pending their arrest.

“But we are now preparing murder charges against them,” he said.

While Manalang said it was certain that Oliverio’s killing was work-related, the police were still trying to figure out who ordered it.

“The progress of the investigation was a success because we managed to identify the suspects,” he said.

Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, Davao del Sur police director, said one of the suspects was also linked to the 2006 killing of broadcaster Armando Pace.

Both Oliverio and Pace hosted programs on Radyo Ukay dxDS, which is owned by the Davao City-based University of Mindanao Network (UMBN) of the Torres family.

Dubria said once the suspects had been prosecuted and jailed, police authorities would solve both the Oliverio and the Pace killings.

Like Pace, who had hit hard prominent personalities in his commentaries, Oliverio was also critical of them.

During the 2013 elections, he was said to have earned the ire of some politicians because of his scathing remarks on the air of their governance. He also tackled issues such as illegal gambling and illegal drugs, among others.

Oliverio had mellowed the past months, according to Daniel Gloria Jr., his co-host in another radio program, after suffering from a mild stroke.

But Gloria admitted that he was scathing in his commentaries – albeit with humor – prior to his bout with stroke.

Oliverio was driving home from the market here around 7:30 a.m. Friday when he was shot twice–on the head and nape—by two men riding on a motorbike.

His common-law wife, Rowena Baylosis, was not hit but was injured when their motorcycle crashed on the pavement.

The Tri-Media Association of Davao del Sur said the police’s finding that Oliverio’s death was work-related had proved their position that there was a systematic plot by some people to “eliminate” those that they deemed hindrance to their crooked ways.

“But we will not be cowed by this latest attack. We may have lost three comrades but their deaths only made us stronger in our quest for good governance and the fight against the crooks,” Marlan Malnegro, an officer of the provincial media group, said.

Aside from Oliverio and Pace, another Davao del Sur journalist was also murdered. Nestor Bedolido, formerly Digos Times editor, was gunned down in 2010.

Nationwide, the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) said that Oliverio was the 164th journalist to have been killed since 1986 and the 28th to have been murdered under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

His death occurred on the 54th week of commemoration of the Maguindanao massacre, in which 32 journalists were killed en masse.

The NUJP said just last week, the Senate panel chaired by Senator Grace Poe had conducted hearings on the status of media killings in the country, to which police and industry representatives were invited to provide updates on the arrest and prosecution of culprits.

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