Police are looking into a possible job-related motive for the killing of Cebu radio commentator Renante Rey Cortes on Thursday, July 22.
Police Major Dindo Alaras, Mambaling Police Station chief, confirmed Cortes' death in an interview with Rappler on Thursday.
"9 am ang reported incident mao na ang according sa katong kuyog ni Sir Rey, which is after sa iyahang program. Nagtindog siya sa gawas unya naa silay nadungog nabuto, nakit-an na niya si Sir Rey nga tumba na,” said Alaras.
(According to the person who was with Rey, the reported incident happened at 9 am, which is after his program. He was just standing outside until they heard a gunshot, and then they saw sir Rey lying down)
According to Alaras, the perpetrators could not be easily identified because there were no witnesses when it happened.
Alaras said they were looking into Cortes’ job as a commentator and his past personal conflicts with other people as possible motives for the killing.
The station commander said that Cortes’ commentaries often got him involved in altercations with political personalities. They are also reviewing his commentaries to find possible links to his killing.
Police plan to check the CCTVs in the area, and have deployed a tracking team.
According to DyRB admin associate Nova Banawan, there was no known recent threat to Cortes' life. She did recall that two people – a man and a woman – visited their office on Wednesday, July 21, to ask for Cortes' schedule.
"Nangutana unsang orasa moanhi dire. Ana. Kay hapon man gud to niari dire," she told Rappler. (They asked what time he would come to the office. Because they came in the afternoon.)
Banawan said they did not state their reason for asking, and she added she did not pry further because they might be meeting Cortes for personal reasons.
Banawan described Cortes as an "approachable" colleague.
"Okay man kaayo na si Sir Cortes. Approachable kaayo. Hilig kaayo na siya mamansin dayon makigsturya gyud na siya nimo," she said. (Sir Cortes is very okay. He's so approachable. He is very engaging and would always make conversation with us.)
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Cebu Chapter condemned the killing.
“NUJP-Cebu condemns the killing of Cortes and fervently demands justice for his death. We call for a swift and impartial investigation into the incident,” NUJP-Cebu said in a statement.
“We resist all threats and attempts to silence the media, to gag the fourth estate from bringing truth to power. We recognize that not forwarding truth only emboldens more of these senseless killings,” it added.
The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) said in a statement that Cortes' case should be investigated by a Special Investigation Task Group.
"Media workers are not special people and do not expect special treatment. The local community of journalists will be content with diligent crime investigation that, sadly, people had not seen applied to similar cases of violence against media workers and other high-profile personalities. An SITG inquiry may help cut down public skepticism," the CCPC said. – Rappler.com