Misamis Occidental radioman shot dead
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — A popular radio commentator died in a daring gun attack from an unknown assailant while hosting his radio program at his home in Calamba, Misamis Occidental, yesterday morning.
Juan “Johnny Walker” Jumalon, 57, died instantly from two gunshots to the face, the Calamba municipal police station reported to Brig. Gen. Ricardo Layug Jr., director of the Police Regional Office 10 in Cagayan de Oro City.
The incident was captured on a livestream video of Jumalon’s show.
President Marcos condemned the attack on Jumalon, who owned Gold FM 94.7, which is located at his residence in Barangay Don Bernardo Neri, Calamba, Misamis Occidental.
He was shot dead by a lone suspect whom Calamba police are still trying to identify.
According to police, the incident occurred at around 5:35 a.m. when the suspect –pretending to want to make an on-air announcement – was allowed entry into the radio station.
Video of the attack circulated in different Mindanao regions in less than an hour after the incident, and showed a man with a pistol approaching Jumalon, who was talking on air inside the broadcast booth.
The footage showed that the suspect immediately shot Jumalon in the head, grabbed his gold necklace and fled from the scene after making sure that the broadcaster was dead.
Family members and barangay emergency responders rushed Jumalon to the Calamba District Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival by attending physician Geopeter Manisan.
Layug issued a statement condemning the killing of Jumalon, and said they are currently investigating to identify the suspect and his motive and have formed a special investigation task force focusing on the case.
“We extend our full support to the media community, and underscore the vital collaboration among law enforcement in the community and all the stakeholders, in ensuring the safety of all the media practitioners in the region,” he said.
Calamba police have conducted checkpoints and dragnet operations in an attempt to apprehend the suspect.
Marcos orders probe
Marcos immediately ordered the police to thoroughly investigate the broadcaster’s death and bring those responsible to justice.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the murder of broadcaster Juan Jumalon. I have instructed the PNP (Philippine National Police) to conduct a thorough investigation to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice,” Marcos said in a post on Twitter.
The President said this kind of attack against journalists has no place in a democratic country.
“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions,” he said.
Jumalon was the fourth journalist to be killed since Marcos took office in June 2022, according to reports.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) expressed its condolences to the family of Jumalon, and assured the government would closely monitor his case.
“Such a barbaric attack on our journalists have no place in a democratic country,” the PCO said in Filipino.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), meanwhile, called on the PNP to immediately activate a special investigation task group (SITG).
“Even as we extend our sympathy to the victim’s family and friends over this dastardly attack, we also call on the Misamis Occidental Police Office to immediately constitute its SITG to investigate this incident and apprehend the suspect and others possibly involved in the interest of justice,” PTFoMS executive director Paul Gutierrez said in a statement.
Gutierrez also urged the National Bureau of Investigation, which is also part of the PTFoMS, to start gathering evidence in support of the ongoing investigation to hasten its resolution.
He, likewise, appealed to the public not to resort to any speculation or make baseless accusations on the motive for the attack on Jumalon.
DOJ vows thorough probe
The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday vowed a thorough investigation and swift apprehension of the individuals behind the killing, condemning the act as an “affront to democracy, freedom of expression, and the sanctity of a free press.”
In a statement, the DOJ said Jumalon’s death is a loss, not only to his family and loved ones, but “also to the journalism community and the nation as a whole.”
“We vow to spare no effort in ensuring a thorough investigation, the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, and their subsequent prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” it said.
Recognizing the role of a free and independent media in maintaining a healthy democracy, the DOJ vowed any attempts to silence or intimidate journalists “will be met with the full force of the law.” — Helen Flores, Daphne Galvez