CABANATUAN CITY—Julius Caesar Cauzo, a broadcaster of the local radio station dwJJ, started his day early on Thursday by visiting a coworker.
At 7:30 a.m., Cauzo, a former Inquirer correspondent in Nueva Ecija, left the house of his fellow dwJJ announcer, Joselito Verde, to bring a son to the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST) here.
An hour later, Cauzo was dead. A lone gunman on a motorcycle in Barangay (village) Aduas shot and killed Cauzo, 52, who was then driving his motorcycle on his way to his 9 a.m. daily broadcast at dwJJ and local TV Channel 16.
Cauzo had three bullet wounds in the back and died while being taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital here.
Light Nolasco, head of the Nueva Ecija Press Club (NEPC) and Cauzo’s coworker, said Cauzo arrived at the station at 8 a.m. but left immediately to deliver a motorcycle battery to a friend’s house.
“I soon received word that he was shot and killed by a gunman aboard another motorcycle,” Nolasco said. He said Cauzo’s body was found sprawled on the road in Aduas, about 2 kilometers from the radio station in Barangay Bitas.
Superintendent Walter Castillejos, Nueva Ecija police director, said a special police task force was formed to investigate and solve Cauzo’s murder.
Cauzo’s coemployees lamented that the attack happened while a gun ban is in force in Cabanatuan for the Dec. 1 plebiscite to ratify the change of its status from a component city of Nueva Ecija to a highly urbanized city (HUC).
The stations dwJJ and Channel 16 are owned by the family of Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara.
Vergara declined to identify people who could be behind Cauzo’s murder. “I’m not pointing fingers. What I’m saying is it’s a publicity war but it should never come to this,” he said.
Governor Aurelio Umali, who opposes Cabanatuan’s HUC bid, also condemned the killing. “This is not right. Nothing can justify his killing,” Umali said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Cauzo, executive vice president of NEPC, was former assistant professor at the NEUST here. He was also a former village council member in Barangay Sibul in Talavera town.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Cauzo was the 154th journalist killed in the line of duty since 1986 and the 14th under Mr. Aquino’s term. NUJP records showed that Cauzo was the fifth media worker killed this year.
First posted 10:59 am | Thursday, November 8th, 2012