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MANILA, Philippines – The alleged gunman behind the killing of Oriental Mindoro broadcaster Cresenciano “Cris” Bundoquin surfaced before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) announced on Wednesday, June 28.
Accompanied by his wife and other relatives, Isabelo Lopez Bautista, the alleged gunman, appeared before the NBI Metro Manila office past 6 pm on Tuesday, June 28, PTFoMS chief Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez said. Bautista, however, claimed he was not the gunman who shot the slain journalist.
Despite Bautista’s denial, the PTFoMS said the alleged gunman “vowed to fully cooperate with the NBI in finding out the truth about the incident.” According to the media task force, two witnesses identified Bautista as the alleged gunman.
The alleged gunman also met some lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office, the PTFoMS said. Bautista has no pending warrant of arrest, and a formal charge has yet to be filed against him.
“So, technically and legally, we cannot say that Bautista ‘surrendered’ as he is not a wanted person in the absence of any warrant of arrest,” Gutierrez explained. “Nevertheless, we are glad that Bautista decided to turn himself in as his statements later on would help investigators in establishing all the facts and the truth surrounding the killing of Bundoquin and expedite our quest for justice for Bundoquin.”
The PTFoMS chief added that the Calapan City Prosecutor’s Office in Oriental Mindoro has yet to file charges, although it already received the police’s complaint for murder and frustrated murder filed against Bautista on June 9.
The task force added that Bautista had said he left Mindoro around June 8 and remained in Batangas before moving to Manila. Bautista said he hid “for some time on the advice of some close friends and relatives but is determined all along to turn himself in before the NBI.”
In May, Bundoquin, a radio host at DWXR 101.7 Kalahi FM, was gunned down by two unidentified assailants at around 4:20 am in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Calapan City. The Philippine National Police Mimaropa said the motorcycle-riding assailants, aboard a White Honda XRM 125 with plate number DD 22153, stopped by the store, and one of the assailants approached and gunned down the victim.
Bautista’s alleged companion, Narciso Ignacio Guntan, died after their motorcycle crashed when they hit a metal road barrier during their escape, the PTFoMS said.
The task force said the “evolving motives” behind Bundoquin’s killing include illegal gambling in Oriental Mindoro using local carnivals (peryahan) as front, and local politics. It added that Bautista had confirmed that he and Guntan were alleged employees of a certain Felix Solis, said to be the biggest carnival financier/operator in the province.
The PTFomS said Bundoquin severely criticized illegal gambling and local politics in his radio program.
Bundoquin was the third journalist killed under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He was slain seven months after the killing of another broadcaster, Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, in October 2022.
Bundoquin was the 198th journalist killed in the Philippines since 1986. Most of the media workers slain in the country were radio journalists – at least 101 so far. – Rappler.com