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Radio commentator shot dead in Pangasinan

Broadcaster survived first attack in 2016; Malacañang, NUJP condemn slay as ‘act of cowardice’
By: - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
/ 02:45 AM November 11, 2020

Virgilio Maganes

VILLASIS, Pangasinan, Philippines — A block-time radio commentator and local newspaper columnist was shot and killed by two men on a motorcycle here on Tuesday morning, four years after he survived the first attempt on his life, police said.

Virgilio “Vir” Maganes, 62, was about to enter the family compound in Barangay San Blas here at 6:45 a.m. when he was shot in the head and body.

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Police have yet to determine the motive of the killing.

Maganes was the 18th media worker murdered during the Duterte administration and the 190th since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).He worked for the community newspaper Northern Watch as a reporter and columnist for 11 years until the paper folded up in June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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No motive yet

He also worked as a commentator for block-time programs in several local radio stations, focusing on political issues.In November 2016, Maganes survived an attack by two gunmen as he rode a tricycle on his way to work at station Radyo Pilipino (dWPR) in Dagupan City.

Though wounded, he played dead as the gunmen left a cardboard sign saying, “Drug pusher huwag pamarisan (don’t emulate).”

“[It was] an obvious attempt to smear him and mask their real motives. [That] incident remained unsolved and Maganes apparently remained unprotected,” the NUJP said in a statement. Maganes was a member of the local chapter of NUJP.

Saddened

The NUJP condemned Maganes’ murder, saying it was “an indictment on this government’s empty boast that press freedom is alive and well in the country.”The attack happened a week after media practitioners marked the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Malacañang also condemned the killing, describing it as an “act of cowardice.” It vowed to work for the arrest of the suspects.“We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Virgilio Maganes and extend our sincerest condolences to his family. This administration condemns any type of killing, especially those in the media,” Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said in a statement.

Andanar, cochair of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, called on the police to “go after the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

He also asked Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, the task force executive director, to investigate the case. Egco said he would look into all angles to determine the motive of the killing.

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Media killings

The NUJP said: “We demand that authorities work fast to solve his death, which could be related to the botched attempt on his life.”It identified other media workers who were murdered since President Duterte took office as Larry Que, Joaquin Briones, Christopher Lozada, Leo Diaz, Rudy Alicaway, Mario Cantaoi, Marlon Muyco, Apolinario Suan Jr., Edmund Sestoso, Carlos Matas, Dennis Denora, Joey Llana, Gabby Alboro, Eduardo Dizon, Dindo Generoso, Cornelio Pepino and Jobert Bercasio.

On Sept. 14, Bercasio, an online news and commentary program handler, was killed while driving his motorcycle at Barangay Cabid-an in Sorsogon province.

Unidentified gunmen

Pepino, a radio reporter, was killed in Dumaguete City on May 5 while riding a motorcycle on his way home from work. He was the third Dumaguete-based broadcaster killed after Sestoso in April 2018 and Generoso in November 2019.

In December 2018, Alboro, a radio block-timer, was on his way home in Guihulngan City when he was killed by two men on a motorcycle in La Libertad town, Negros Oriental province.

In July 2018, Llana, a radio broadcaster for dwZR in Legazpi City, was leaving his home in Daraga town, Albay province, when he was shot dead by unidentified men.

With reports from Jerome Aning, Krixia Subingsubing and Inquirer Research

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