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Cebu radio blocktimer gunned down

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — A radio blocktimer in Cebu City was gunned down shortly after his program yesterday.

Renante Cortes, who hosted ”Engkwentro” in dyRB, was about to ride his car in front of the radio station in Barangay Mambaling when he was shot at around 9 a.m., Councilor Dave Tumulak said, quoting witnesses.

Tumulak, who hosts the next program after Engkwentro, said the victim did not join him for breakfast yesterday, saying it was the birthday of his wife.

Cortes was declared dead on arrival at the Cebu City Medical Center at around 9:55 a.m.

Maj. Dindon Alaras, Mambaling police station chief, said Cortes could have been killed by sniper fire as no gunman was seen in the area.

“We don’t have a concrete or even an initial description of the gunman,” Alaras said.

Aside from Cortes’ work as a commentator, probers are looking into a personal grudge as possible motive for the killing.

Cortes’ aide said the victim had conflicts with several persons. He had survived an attempt on his life in 2003. He was arrested in 2006 for alleged extortion.

Cebu City police deputy director for operations Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla said a task force would be created to investigate the killing.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the attack on Cortes and called for a swift and impartial probe.

“Attacks against journalists and media workers continue to rise and are being normalized simply for fulfilling our duties as watchdogs of society,” the NUJP said in a statement.

Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar extended the condolences of the government to the family, friends and colleagues of Cortes.

Andanar said the Presidential Task Force on Media Security would pursue justice for the victim. – Iris Hazel Mascardo/The Freeman, Christina Mendez

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