BISLIG CITY, Philippines — Joint police teams have under their custody one of the two persons of interest in the killing of Bislig City radio reporter Christopher Iban Lozada.
The suspects are known to be working for City Mayor Librado Navarro who is also considered to be a person of interest in the case.
In the afternoon of 7 November 2017, joint police operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Region 13, the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Surigao Del Sur Police Provincial Office, and the Bislig City Police Station swooped down on the hideouts of the suspects in the killing of Lozada last October 24.
Lozada was a radio broadcaster of DBXF Prime Broadcasting Network in Bislig City in the province of Surigao del Sur was.
Lozada, 29, was driving home in his gray Toyota Vios, accompanied by his partner Honey Faith lndog, 25, when they were shot by men riding a van, police reports said.
Lozada was declared dead on the spot. Indog was brought to the Andres Soriano Hospital in Bislig.
Armed with Search Warrants issued by the Honorable Cresenciana DC Cruz, the presiding judge of Branch 3, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, the joint police teams managed to get into their custody the alleged lookout in the gruesome crime.
The other subject of the warrant, the supposed driver, remain at large. Both are residents of Purok 10, Sug-Ubon, Barangay Tabon in Bislig City.
“On behalf of the president, I congratulate the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) and Usec. Joel Egco, as well as the PNP Region 13, for their relentless effort in seeking justice for the victims. This shows the government’s resolve to end threats of violence and other crimes posed against media workers and their families,” PTFoMS Co-Chair and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said.
“We leave our competent investigators on the field to diligently discharge their mandated tasks, under the tight and close scrutiny of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS),” Andanar added. PTFoMS Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, had personally conducted a probe on the incident and since day one has acted as overseer of the operations.
Egco has vowed to bring the killers of Lozada to justice, “Rest assured that in the interest of justice, our directive is to charge anyone with Obstruction of Justice for obvious cover-up,” he said.
Relatedly, the gray van used in perpetrating the killing was reportedly being kept in a garage owned and operated by the local government and is now the subject of confiscation by authorities for forensic analysis.
The PTFoMS was told that the local government barred investigators from taking hold of the said vehicle.
“The PTFoMS will keep a close watch and strictly monitor the progress of this investigation and even provide legal support and other assistance, if necessary,” Egco emphasized.
Earlier on, a politician also mauled a radio reporter from Surigao del Norte.
Edito Mapayo, editor-in-chief of Pinas Balita, a Surigao City-based weekly newspaper was slapped and physically assaulted by Dapa town Vice Mayor Francisco “Junjun” Gonzales.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph