Tabloid columnist-reporter killed in Arayat ambush

Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

ARAYAT, Philippines — A tabloid columnist-reporter and his companion were shot dead along a highway in Barangay Cacutud here at about 10:30 p.m. last Sunday.

A report from Arayat police chief Lt. Col. Dale Soliba identified the victims as Jupiter Gonzales, 52, a reporter of Remate, and Christopher Tiongson. They were in a Nissan Almera (AQA 8441) when unidentified gunmen started shooting at them.

Gonzales was driving the car on the Olongapo-Gapan road in Cacutud en route to Subic, Zambales with his companion in the front seat.

Their car crashed into a flower box along the road, just as the gunmen fled in a still unknown vehicle.

The report said residents in the area found Tiongson apparently already lifeless, while Gonzales was still breathing despite a bullet wound in the head. Both were declared dead at the Arayat district hospital.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said it was “deeply saddened and condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Jupiter Gonzales.”?Undersecretary Joel Egco, executive director of the PTFoMS, said he “immediately coordinated with the police operatives in Arayat to speed up the investigation” and that he would lead a team of investigators.

Egco also writes a column in Remate.

Egco arrived at the Arayat police station before noon yesterday, along with police Lt. Col. Eder Collantes and retired police Lt. Col. Rechie Duldulao, PTFoMS investigation chief and deputy, respectively.

Egco noted that Gonzales “was known for being a staunch critic of illegal gambling proliferating in local carnivals, or peryahan or pergalan in street parlance.”

“The PTFoMS presumes any form of media violence as work-related, until further investigation proves otherwise. The Task Force is on top of the situation and is closely coordinating with the authorities regarding this incident and follow-up investigations are being closely monitored,” Egco said in a statement. – With Artemio Dumlao, Emmanuel Tupas, Ric Sapnu

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