attacks against media

2 of 3 suspects in killing of Misamis Occidental broadcaster arrested

Jairo Bolledo

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2 of 3 suspects in killing of Misamis Occidental broadcaster arrested

ARRESTED. Police, on March 15, 2024, arrest two suspects behind the brutal killing of radio broadcaster Juan Jumalon in Misamis Occidental in 2023.

Presidential Task Force on Media Security

Juan Jumalon was gunned down while on air on November 5, 2023

MANILA, Philippines – Two of three suspects in the killing of a radio broadcaster in Misamis Occidental had been arrested, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) said on Saturday, March 16.

The PTFOMS said in a statement that the suspects behind the killing of broadcaster Juan “DJ Johnny Walker” Jumalon in November 2023 were arrested during police operations on Friday, March 15, in the Northern Mindanao province. The suspects were identified as cousins Boboy Sagaray Bongcawel, alias “Boboy,” 39, and Renante Saja Bongcawel, alias “Inteng,” 39.

The Bongcawel cousins were arrested by the police through an arrest warrant for murder and theft issued by Calamba Executive Judge Michael Lotao Ajoc of Regional Trial Court Branch 36, 10th Judicial Region. The court did not recommend bail for the suspects.

According to the PTFOMS, Boboy was the one who allegedly pointed a gun at Jumalon’s radio station helper, while Renate was identified as the alleged driver of the getaway motorcycle.

PTFOMS chief Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez said the Misamis Occidental police were currently following up on several leads that would point to the whereabouts of Julito Mangumpit, the only suspect who remained at large.

The PTFOMS said they had already shipped 50,000 wanted flyers to the local police containing the computer sketch of Mangumpit’s face. At least 20,000 of the said flyers were given to the Philippine Ports Authority, which promised to distribute the papers in all PPA ports in Mindanao.

The government is still offering a P3.7-million reward to those who can help in the arrest of the remaining suspect.

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Juan Jumalon was known for bringing morning good vibes in Misamis Occidental

Juan Jumalon was known for bringing morning good vibes in Misamis Occidental
Why this matters

Jumalon’s tragic killing in 2023 sent shockwaves across the country as the radioman was gunned down while on air on November 5, 2023. The 57-year-old broadcaster from Gold FM 94.7 Calamba was killed inside his radio booth located in his residence.

A Cebu Daily News report said one of the suspects asked permission to enter Jumalon’s radio booth to announce “something important.” The local police said the gunman shot Jumalon twice, hitting his lower lip and the back portion of his head. Afterwards, the assailant grabbed Jumalon’s necklace and then fled.

Jumalon’s killing proved that media killings persist and that the Philippines remains a dangerous country for journalists.

The country ranked 132nd out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index for 2023. Based on the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ (NUJP) tally, at least 199 Filipino journalists have been killed since 1986, including Jumalon. This number includes all journalists slain in relation to their job.

The radio broadcaster was the fourth journalist to be killed under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration, following Rey Blanco, Percy Lapid, and Cresenciano Bundoquin.

Meanwhile, the suggestion to arm journalists was raised anew after Jumalon’s killing. The proposal was not new, as former government officials had already made similar suggestions before amid journalist killings.

Several media groups in the Philippines have been condemning the idea for years, noting that it deflects the responsibility of protecting journalists.

The NUJP holds the same position. In the early 2000s, former NUJP chair and veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona said journalists were not asking for special privileges, but the demand was for law enforcers to do their job: protect journalists and hold the killers of journalists accountable.

Another media rights group, the Community to Protect Journalists, noted in a 2005 report that there were cases where journalists armed themselves but still ended up getting killed. The report cited the case of slain Mindanao journalist Klein Cantoneros, who fired back at his attackers but was still killed in the process.

“Carrying a gun is no assurance of protection,” the CPJ added. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    I appreciate the work done by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS). May it help resolve the case of the killing of radio broadcaster Juan “DJ Johnny Walker” Jumalon. I agree with the CPJ that “Carrying a gun is no assurance of protection.” But it is better than nothing because journalists cannot have police officers as bodyguards. They have to learn how to kill at least one of their assailants for the latter to at least think twice before killing the former. Lastly, keep up the excellent work, PTFOMS.

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.