Citing safety, colleagues of slain radioman refuse to go to work
Colleagues of slain broadcaster Christopher Lozada refused to report for work, fearing for their safety after the radio anchor was shot dead by armed men in Bislig City in Surigao del Sur province on Tuesday night, an official of Prime Broadcasting Network (PBN) said.
In a text message, Edgar Delivo, PBN chief executive officer, said members of his station’s public affairs team feared that they would be targeted by assassins.
He said anchors Bong Nokil of the daily morning program Kamatuoran (Truth) and Chris Galvez of Krusada (Crusade), which airs from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily, were not reporting for work after Lozada’s murder.
“There was this rumor that they (killers) will ‘package’ (kill) the remaining radio personnel. My [employees] are afraid,” Delivo said.
‘Not a joke’
He said he tried to encourage his staff to continue with their programs but they would not budge. “No matter how I encouraged the team, (they refused),” Delivo said.
He said he and the PBN management were not taking the rumor lightly because “they killed one (of the anchors) already.”
“The threat is not a joke … This is alarming,” Delivo said.
Lozada, anchorman and general manager of PBN 101.7 FM in Bislig, and his girlfriend, Honey Faith Indog, were shot by a group of armed men just as they arrived home in Barangay Coleta in Bislig on Tuesday night. Indog was wounded in the attack.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), in a statement, said that prior to Lozada’s killing, the office had sent a “red flag” warning to Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro after Lozada filed a complaint where he claimed that the mayor had been threatening him.
Joel Egco, PTFoMs head, said the letter was sent to Navarro on Oct. 24.
“(B)ut Lozada was killed even before the letter could reach the mayor,” he said.
Egco said Lozada claimed that Navarro sent him text messages, warning him “to leave Bislig if you do not want to die.”
In an interview in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday, Navarro denied any hand in the killing of Lozada, saying he even condemned it.
“I can hold my head up high and say I am innocent and my conscience is clear,” the mayor said, noting that he and Lozada were relatives.
“He was like a son to me,” Navarro said. “I am open to any investigation and I will face in court anybody who’s interested to file (cases against me).”
Navarro said he would order “a fair and proper investigation of the case be extended to the family so the truth will come out.”
Egco said he had ordered Supt. Eder Collantes of Task Force Usig “to immediately investigate the killing and update our office of their investigation.”
Egco said he had warned Navarro that “in case any untoward incident happens to (Lozada), we will include you (the mayor) as possible perpetrator of the same.” —ALLAN NAWAL, JIGGER JERUSALEM AND FRINSTON LIM
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