PNP looking at 4 angles in broadcaster’s slay

Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
PNP looking at 4 angles in broadcaster�s slay
Computerized facial composite sketch of one of the suspects in the killing of radio commentator Juan "Johnny Walker" Jumalon in Calamba, Misamis Occidental.
Photo courtesy of PNP Public Information Office. | via Manuel Tupas

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking into at least four angles in the killing of Misamis Occidental radioman Juan “Johnny Walker” Jumalon last Sunday, with motives other than those work-related – including a land dispute and the recent elections – being looked into.

The PNP released yesterday new closed-circuit television footage and a computerized sketch of one of the suspects in the broadcaster’s slaying right in his radio booth.

Lt. Alma Pescador, Misamis Occidental Provincial Police Office spokesperson, told OneNews PH that two suspects have been identified.

“Although the CCTV footage has captured their images, their identities have not yet been positively confirmed,” Pescador clarified in Filipino, as she explained that investigators are exploring multiple angles to determine the motive behind the attack.

Pescador emphasized that details cannot presently be disclosed to avoid preempting the investigation.

When questioned about whether the attack might be job-related, a police officer who interrupted the interview with Pescador on-air replied that the information is not yet being revealed to protect the investigation’s integrity.

The cop added that two witnesses – a working student and a spinner – were present during the attack.

However, Presidential Task Force on Media Safety (PTFOMS) executive director Paul Gutierrez said Jumalon’s media colleagues believed it unlikely that the crime was related to his work as a broadcaster.

“The media colleagues I mentioned are members of the Mindanao Independent Press Council. They were the ones who described the style of Jumalon. And while we do not discount (the possibility) that it was work-related, they were the ones who said that the angle was farfetched… So our initial fear that it was work-related may not be the conclusion. Nevertheless, we are giving our investigators all the freedom to further dig into this issue so we will know all the angles,” Gutierrez said over state-run People’s Television.

He added that authorities are also looking into the possibility that the crime may be motivated by personal reasons or related to the recently concluded barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“Another angle being considered is an issue involving a property in that area. The discussion between the victim and his rival seemed to have reached the court,” Gutierrez said in Filipino.

According to the two witnesses, the suspects gained access to Jumalon’s residence, which also serves as base for the 94.7 Calamba Gold FM that Jumalon owns and operates, on the pretense of making an on-air announcement for a lost wallet and some keys.

They added that after the gate was opened, the suspects forcibly entered and held one of them at gunpoint. The other entered the station and shot the 57-year-old Jumalon.

According to the Calamba police report to Brig. Gen. Ricardo Layug Jr., regional director of the Police Regional Office 10 based in Cagayan de Oro City, Jumalon died instantly from two gunshots to the face.?

Deplorable, dastardly act

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos yesterday said he expects a breakthrough in the case.

“The fatal shooting of local broadcaster Juan Jumalon in Misamis Occidental was a deplorable and dastardly act that has no place in our society,” Abalos said. “It was a direct assault on press freedom and to a greater extent to our democracy.”

Abalos also said that, upon the directive of President Marcos, the PNP activated the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “Johnny Walker” to run after and put the perpetrators behind bars.

“At this point, I can confirm that the SITG has already come up with a computerized facial sketch of one of the suspects. The sketch has already been made available to the public for identification. The SITG also has already done cross matching the shells and slug found in the crime scene,” he added.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the SITG is under the supervision of the PNP Regional Director’s office.?“We have the cartographic sketch and we were able to review all the CCTVs in the area and we got the escape vehicles used,” Acorda told reporters at Camp Bagong Diwa.?He emphasized that the timeline for the investigation would depend on uncovering the truth rather than on meeting deadlines.

“We expedite things but creating a timeline is difficult because we might be forcing policemen to create any drawing or scenario. What we want is the truth only,” he explained.

Acorda added that he also ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to do its own probe.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), according to Department of Justice spokesman Mico Clavano, is also doing a separate probe into Sunday’s shooting.

“The NBI is on the case already. The bureau received information on the case very early and are proactively working on leads to find the murderer,” Clavano said in a message to reporters, adding that the agency is coordinating with the PTFOMS for information sharing.

Also doing its own probe is the Commission on Human Rights, with its CHR Region 10 office launching a quick response operation to look into the attack. — Bella Cariaso, Alexis Romero, Daphne Galvez, Janvic Mateo, John Unson

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