Authorities close in on radio broadcaster’s killer

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Authorities close in on radio broadcaster�s killer
This handout photo taken on May 31, 2023 and received from Oriental Mindoro Provincial Police Public Information Office shows police investigators searching for evidence after radio broadcaster Cresenciano Bunduquin was shot dead outside his home by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro province, south of Manila.
Handout / Oriental Mindoro Provincial Police Public Information Office / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) expressed optimism yesterday that it is just “a matter of time” before the killing of Oriental Mindoro radio blocktimer Cresenciano Bundoquin is solved following the release of a photo of the identified gunman.

In a statement, the PTFoMS released a photo of a certain Isabelo Lopez Bautista, 45, a helper and resident of Barangay Alcadesma, Bunsud, Oriental Mindoro, who was identified by the victim’s son, John Mar, as the one who shot his father last May 31.

Bautista’s photos from “several independent sources,” including a screenshot from his Facebook account that has been deactivated, also showed him to be the same person identified by John Mar, the task force added.

Bundoquin, a radio commentator at Kalahi News FM and MUX online radio, was shot dead by two persons riding in tandem as he was about to open his store in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

The suspects’ getaway motorcycle crashed at a road barrier, which killed one of the suspects, Narciso Ignacio Guntan.

“The PTFoMS would like to commend our fellow members of the press, especially in Mindoro, and other concerned individuals who responded to our call for help and cooperation in solving this case by doing their own separate interviews and research and providing us what they have uncovered,” PTFoMS executive director Paul Gutierrez said in a statement posted on Facebook .

Bundoquin’s widow Francia earlier told PTFoMS that John Mar had positively identified Bautista as the gunman based on the suspect’s postal ID recovered by the police.

Gutierrez said Special Investigation Task Force ground commander and Oriental Mindoro police director Col. Samuel Delorino had informed him that cases for murder and attempted murder against Bautista were filed before the Calapan City Regional Trial Court last Friday.

The charge for murder against Bautista was filed by Francia, with John Mar filing the additional attempted murder charge against the suspected gunman.

“In this regard, we are also warning all those harboring Bautista that they, too, shall suffer the full force of the law,” the PTFoMS chief said.

“But of course, the best course for Bautista is to surrender, face the consequences of his action and reveal everything he knows. All his rights as an accused shall be accorded to him under the law,” he added.

Gutierrez previously said the emerging motives for the killing of Bundoquin are illegal gambling and politics. He said the Bundoquin family believes there are other people involved in the crime.

Another is a provincial official belonging to a prominent political clan in Mindoro, while the other is a longtime operator of a perya (carnival) with close links to many local officials and a close association with the police major.

Bautista and Guntan were workers in the local peryahan scene in Mindoro, and Bautista had also worked as a driver doing odd jobs for some influential individuals in the province, the PTFoMS learned.

“The emerging motive is the proliferation of illegal gambling in the province using perya as a cover, and politics, as both were severely criticized by Bundoquin in his radio program,” he said.

He reiterated his offer to include Bautista’s family in the government’s witness protection program if this would help convince him to surrender.

“With his identity finally revealed, Bautista must now realize that his options are getting smaller by the day, including those harboring him,” he said.

DOJ orders parallel probe

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel probe into the killing of Bundoquin.

Remulla’s directive aims to hasten the resolution of the case “for us get a clear picture of what happened and who are the other persons who may have masterminded the attack on Bundoquin,” according to Gutierrez.

He said Remulla ordered the NBI to explore all angles, noting that the probe must not be limited to a grudge as the motive.

“Let me emphasize that the government is determined to solve this incident and to render full justice to the victim’s family by unmasking and prosecuting all those involved. No one should take this determination lightly,” Gutierrez stressed. — Ed Amoroso, Artemio Dumlao

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