3 more suspects eyed in radioman killing
CITY OF CALAPAN—At least three more persons of interest are being investigated for their role in the May 31 murder of radio commentator Cresenciano Bunduquin in this capital city of Oriental Mindoro.
Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), did not identify them pending investigation by authorities but said on Thursday that one of them was a police major assigned at the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) regional police office.
Another was a provincial official belonging to a prominent political clan, while the third was a “longtime, big time” operator of a “perya” (fair set up during fiesta celebrations) “with a close link to many local officials and close association with the police major.”
“However, from the stream of information the PTFOMS is now getting from other reliable sources in the government, other persons may also be involved,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
Gutierrez said Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel investigation of Bunduquin’s killing.
He said the involvement of the NBI would “further hasten the resolution of the case, clarify the involvement of other personalities in Mindoro potentially linked to the killing of Bunduquin and prevent a potential ‘whitewash’ of the case.”
“Thus, Secretary Remulla deemed it best to order the NBI to conduct a parallel probe for us to get a clear picture of what happened and who are the other persons who may have ‘masterminded’ the attack on Bunduquin,” he added.
Gutierrez added: “Let me emphasize that the government is determined to solve this incident and to render full justice to the victim’s family by unmasking and prosecuting all those involved. No one should take this determination lightly.” Bunduquin, 50, a radio commentator at dwXR 101.7 Kalahi FM and MUX Online, was shot and killed by two men on a motorcycle in front of his rented store in Barangay Sta. Isabel on May 31.
The gunman, who escaped after the attack, was later identified by witnesses as Isabelo Lopez Bautista from Bansud town. His companion, Narciso Ignacio Guntan from Roxas town, died after their motorcycle crashed when it hit a metal road barrier during their escape. The getaway motorcycle and two .45 caliber pistols were recovered from the slain suspect.
In a June 2 television interview, Police Col. Samuel Delorino, Oriental Mindoro police director, said they provided security and protection to the witness who identified the suspects in Bunduquin’s murder.
Delorino said investigators were checking Bautista’s last known address and the places he used to frequent. “Nobody has seen him in quite a while. He’s really hiding,” he said of the gunman.
Bunduquin was buried at a local cemetery on Thursday. His family has yet to grant media interviews, saying they will wait until the radioman is laid to rest.
Exploring all angles
On Tuesday, the Calapan City police filed murder and attempted murder charges in the local prosecutor’s office against Bautista, who has yet to be arrested.
Gutierrez said the filing of charges against Bautista by the police’s Special Investigation Task Group “Bunduquin” would not mean a closure to the case.
“As Secretary Remulla directed, the motive for the killing of Bunduquin must not be limited to the alleged ‘personal grudge’ of the suspects against him. All angles must be explored to the full,” he said.
“The emerging motive is the proliferation of illegal gambling in the province using perya as a cover and politics as both were severely criticized by Bunduquin in his radio program,” he added.
Gutierrez, citing information reaching him, said the suspects—Bautista and Guntan—were working in the province’s “peryahan” business. He said he was also informed that Bautista had also worked as a driver and did odd jobs for some “influential” people in the province.
Bunduquin was the third media worker killed under the administration of President Marcos and the 198th since 1986.