GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines—Two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot dead the publisher and editor-in-chief local newspaper here in the company of his wife and daughter on Thursday night, police said.
Christopher Guarin, 41, was driving his family home to Sunrise Subdivision in Barangay (village) Lagao in his car when they attacked around 10 p.m., the police said.
Guarin, 41, publisher and editor-in-chief of the tabloid Tatak, died from multiple gunshot wounds while his wife, Lyn, sustained a minor injury. Their nine-year-old daughter was unscathed, according to Police Officer 2 Gerald Jubelag.
Lyn later told reporters that her husband had fetched her from the newspaper office past 9 p.m. It was while they were approaching Sunrise Subdivision, where they lived, that two motorcycle-riding men tried to overtake them.
The men, armed with handguns, fired on her husband, she said.
Lyn said Guarin was hit by the first shot.
“I did not see when the gunman fired the first shot. But our daughter who was sitting behind the driver’s seat saw it,” Lyn said.
After taking the first shot, Lyn said, her husband was still very much conscious and even managed to jump out of the car.
“Before he jumped out of the car, he told us to drop down, adding that they (gunmen) were tasked to kill him,” Lyn said.
She said Guarin ran as fast as he could but the armed men pursued him and shot him several more times.
“I could no longer count the number of shots made by the suspects. But I saw my husband lying on the ground helpless, pleading before the suspects not to kill him. His pleading fell on deaf ears,” Lyn said.
Before the two gunmen fled, Lyn said, she heard one of them saying “human na (he’s finished).
Lyn said she could not clearly see the killers’ faces but remembered that one of them was “chubby and wore a bullcap and jacket.”
The motorcycle the assailants used was a white Honda XRM. The only numbers she could remember were “41,” the last digits of the license plate.
Freddie Solinap, manager of Tatak, told reporters that shortly before he was killed, Guarin read a text message from an unknown sender during his blocktime program over radio station dxMD here. Solinap said the sender had threatened to kill Guarin that night.
He said Guarin was used to receiving threatening text messages and had no hint the sender was serious this time.
After his program, Guarin then went to the Tatak office on Bulaong Avenue to fetch his wife and daughter.
“I suspect this has something to do with his business as newspaper publisher and editor,” Solinap said.
After the killing of media worker Alfredo Velarde of Brigada News on November 11, Guarin was one of those invited by the police for questioning. Brigada is Tatak’s rival newspaper.
“However, my husband was cleared of any involvement in the Velarde killing,” Lyn said.
Before publishing his newspaper, Guarin was a Bombo radio reporter for three years up to 1998. He then transferred to the GMA Super Radyo, where he eventually became the station manager.
When GMA Super Radyo was shut down, he went into business. In the 2010 elections, he ran for city councilor but lost.
Edwin Espejo, General Santos chapter chair of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, condemned the killing and urged the authorities to immediately apprehend the killers.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Espejo said, “The killings of mediamen and women should stop.”
Originally posted at 9:14 a.m.