‘Brazenness’ of suspect in shooting of CDO radioman Licuanan alarms colleaguesBy Bobby Lagsa
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—One of the suspects in Thursday’s shooting of radio broadcaster James Michael Licuanan brazenly returned to where the victim worked, a colleague said.
Celso Maldecir, manager of Bombo Radyo here, said the man returned to the station on Saturday, two days after the attack on Licuanan and even tried to get information about the wounded broadcaster’ whereabouts from the security guard on duty.
Bombo personnel alerted the police but the suspect had already gone by the time they arrived.
Maldecir said the security guard recognized the suspect as one of two men who came to the station before Licuanan was shot near the Cogon public market while on his way home Thursday.
Michael Bustamante, another coworker of Licuanan, said the fact that the suspect was bold enough to return to the station after the assassination attempt was a serious cause for concern.
“Imagine they still have the balls to show up here and ask for Bombo James?” Bustamante said.
JB Deveza of the Mindanao Media Safety Office of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said the incident should not be taken lightly.
Santiago Goking, president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club said it only confirmed their fears—that Licuanan and other journalists were not safe.
Goking said the COPC does not only want the police to deploy more security personnel for Licuanan but to “solve this crime.”
“The [impunity] of the suspects to show up at the station is big slap to the police in the city,” he said.
Last week, journalists slammed the city police’s alleged lack of interest on the Licuanan’s case.
On Monday afternoon, journalists here staged a protest to press authorities to speed up the investigation of the failed attempt to kill Licuanan.
They also asked the police to update them on the investigation into the assassination try on former dxCC anchorman Nilo Labares in 2009.
The attempt on Labares was being linked to illegal gambling activities here, which allegedly involve some members of the local police.
“We don’t want another journalist shot in this country. If the police cannot protect the citizen, then where can we turn to?” Goking said.
Another rally, expected to be much bigger, was set for Wednesday. It will be participated in by members of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the religious sector and students.
Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, former executive secretary of the Basic Ecclesiastical Community, said something is wrong in the city since criminals can roam free.
Goking said the sad fact was that crimes—such as the recent robbery that targeted a Banco de Oro branch, the kidnapping of a businessman and summary executions, among others—were happening even if the city government has a P68-million intelligence fund this year.