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Palace condemns killing of Bicol broadcaster

Joey Llana

Malacañang, lawmakers and media groups condemned the killing of a Bicol-based radio journalist, who was shot multiple times inside his car as he was leaving his house in Daraga town on his way to work early on Friday morning.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the attack on Joey Llana was “yet another infringement on the rights to life and a free press.”

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The Presidential Task Force on Media Security “will be relentless in according justice to this latest victim,” Roque said.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate public information and mass media committee, urged the authorities to quickly bring to justice those responsible for the “deplorable act, which has no place in a democratic society.”

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“The increasing number of killings of journalists and the slow resolution of cases embolden those who carry out the attacks against the members of the media,” she said in a statement.

“Let us not allow the culture of impunity to claim more lives,” Poe said.

Sen. Sonny Angara was outraged at the “cowardly act,” saying it “has no place in a civilized society like ours.”

“We cannot allow fear and impunity to reign in a democratic society,” Angara said.

12th fatal attack

Senior Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, Bicol police spokesperson, said unidentified gunmen riddled Llana with bullets at close range, killing him instantly.

Investigators recovered more than a dozen 9mm and .45-caliber bullet casings at the scene.

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The International Federation of Journalists condemned Llana’s death, which the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines says will be the 12th fatal attack against the media under President Duterte if it turns out to be work-related.

Llana, 43, a blocktime anchor, has handled the Monday to Friday early morning program “Metro Banat” since August 2016 and just this month started manning the Saturday morning “Arangkada Daraga” show for station DWZR in Legazpi City.

The “hard-hitting” broadcaster has criticized local and national officials for graft-tainted projects and corruption in media and the police, according to his younger brother, Jose.

Bag of drugs ‘planted’

“In fact, my mother Teresita never failed to remind him to be careful about issues he discusses on his program,” said Jose, adding that his brother would answer back, saying, “I always speak the truth.”

Police said they found a blue Avon sling bag with seven sachets of “shabu” (crystal meth) and a lighter inside Llana’s car, his brother said.

“It was planted. He doesn’t use sling bag,” Jose said, adding that he believes the drugs were meant to distract investigators and the public.

Darlan Barcelon, president of the Police Regional Office 5 Press Corps, also doubted the shabu was Llana’s. “I never saw a visible clue that he was into drugs,” he said.

Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP)-Albay chapter and Barcelon’s group demanded justice for Llana and appealed for an immediate investigation.

ANOTHER MEDIA KILLING Hard-hitting radio commentator Joey Llana’s vehicle blocks a lane outside his house in Daraga town in Albay after unidentified gunmen killed him on Friday as he was leaving for work in nearby Legazpi City. Critics of President Duterte decry the “climate of impunity” that encourages the killing not only of journalists. —MICHAEL B. JAUCIAN

Death threats

Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, Bicol police director, created a task group to investigate Llana’s killing.

KBP-Albay president Tito Ordinario said there were reports that Llana had received death threats through text messages.

Erasto Alerta, another DWZR anchor, said Llana two days earlier confided that he was troubled by “so many death threats.”

“It’s too much already. It’s like I’m being fried,” Alerta quoted Llana as telling him. He recalled that Llana told him they would “not see each other again.”

Barcelon described Llana as “a live wire” who sometimes made “reckless statements.” He did not elaborate.

“But … he was still a legitimate media practitioner,” Barcelon said. —WITH REPORTS FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH, MAR ARGUELLES, MICHAEL JAUCIAN, MA. APRIL MIER, REY ANTHONY OSTRIA AND AP

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TAGS: Albay, Daraga, Joey Llana, Malacañang, Media killings, Philippine news updates
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