Cebu broadcaster survives gun attack
CEBU CITY—Days after receiving death threats, a broadcaster in Cebu City was shot and wounded by a lone gunman who attacked him inside a public utility vehicle here on Thursday noon.
The attack on Rico Osmeña, 58, who hosts a program on local radio station dyLA and a correspondent for the national broadsheet Daily Tribune, came a week after Pampanga-based journalist Jesus “Jess” Malabanan was shot dead inside his family’s store in Calbayog City.
Police said Osmeña was on board a modern jeepney on Urdaneta Street when the suspect boarded the vehicle and shot him twice in the back. A female passenger was hit by a stray bullet.
Osmeña and the wounded passenger, whose identity had yet to be revealed by the police, were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
“He was conscious when he was [taken] to the hospital,” said Police Maj. Edgar Labe, chief of the Waterfront police station.
Osmeña underwent surgery but his doctors had yet to disclose his condition as of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Osmeña is the second radio blocktimer shot in Cebu this year.
On July 22, Rey Cortes, 47, who handled a commentary program on dyRB, was shot shortly after he boarded his vehicle outside the radio station in Barangay Mambaling. He died while undergoing treatment in a government hospital.
The Cebu City police had yet to arrest or charge any suspect in Cortes’ killing.
Days before he was shot, Osmeña announced during his program that he received threats from someone he did not identify. He said he already reported the matter to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Labe said investigators were looking into Osmeña’s work as a broadcaster and the latter’s personal engagements.
“We are backtracking all his radio programs [in a bid to find some leads in our investigation],” he said.
Policemen were also checking footage from closed-circuit television cameras near the crime scene to help them in the investigation.
The management of dyLA strongly condemned the attack on Osmeña. “We hope that the assailant and the mastermind will be arrested,” it said in a statement.
According to the radio station, Osmeña discussed a variety of issues, including politics and smuggling, on his program, “Karun Sugbo,” which airs from 11 a.m. to noon during weekdays.
Osmeña, before the attack, discussed the preparations of the local governments for Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai).
“We let the police do its job to find out whether his (Osmeña) job as a broadcaster had a connection in the crime,” the dyLA management said.
At least 195 journalists have been killed in the country since 1986, with 23 slain during the Duterte administration starting 2016, according to Inquirer news reports and records from National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH
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