A radio host was murdered during the broadcast of his program this Sunday in the Philippines. Juan Jumalón, nicknamed DJ Johnny Walker, was assaulted while he was broadcasting live from the studio installed at his home in Calamba, northern Mindanao.
Shortly before dawn, two individuals showed up at the entrance and convinced the doorman that they needed to deliver an important message live. One of them, authorized to enter, immediately forced the guard to leave his booth at gunpoint and left him in the custody of his crony, also armed.
Immediately afterwards, as the security cameras show, the intruder rushed into the radio studio and shot the announcer at point-blank range mid-sentence. He also tore off a gold chain and returned to the entrance – where they had parked the motorcycle with which they would embark on their escape – all in just ten seconds.
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for radio journalism
The bullet entered the 57-year-old journalist’s mouth and exited through his neck. Although his wife rushed to take him to the hospital, his body would have arrived.
The Calamba Gold FM 94.7 station can also be followed by video transmission on Facebook, where it has 2,400 followers. Several of these would have witnessed the crime live in horror.
Although the robbery could make one think that they were simple criminals, the police’s initial hypothesis is that the crime would be related to the work of the Calamba Gold FM 94.7 radio operator. The cleanliness and speed of the blow also suggests that it could be hitmen.
Not in vain, the Philippines is the eighth state in the world with the greatest impunity for crimes against the press. It is also the most dangerous for radio operators, their main objective, in a country with low reading rates. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has denounced that Jumalón is the 199th journalist murdered in the archipelago since the dictatorship fell in 1986. It is also the fourth fatality since the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, of the same name, was voted president in June last year.
The four murdered were radio journalists, although the most notorious case was that of Percival Mabasa, a veteran corruption whip, who was shot dead last October. A few months earlier, he had campaigned for former Vice President Leni Robredo, against the joint candidacy of Bongbong Marcos and Duterte Zimmerman in the presidential elections. The other two radio publicists murdered are Rey Blanco – stabbed in Negros Oriental – and Cris Bundoquin, in Oriental Mindoro.
The police had no evidence that Jumalón had been threatened. Although he closed the city’s exits and, later, released a robot portrait of the murderer, he and his accomplice are still on the run. Marcos Jr. has condemned the crime and promised a thorough investigation.
The pressure against the media by his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, favored the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize (shared) to the Filipino journalist Maria Resa, founder of the news website Rappler, two years ago. Marcos, however, last year forged an alliance with Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte Zimmerman, who is now his vice president.
Bongbong Marcos, in full rapprochement with the US and Japan, promises to investigate thoroughly
In any case, criticism of the Philippines has been mitigated by the new government, which has moved the helm towards greater rapprochement with the United States and Japan, two of its former occupying powers. All of this is due to the dispute with China over some reefs, atolls and uninhabited islets in the South China Sea.
After giving the green light to the reopening of several US military bases, Ferdinand Marcos was received by Joe Biden at the White House last spring. Last Friday it was Fumio Kishida’s turn to be feted in Manila. In the first speech ever given by a Japanese prime minister in a joint session of the Philippine Parliament, Kishida recalled the Philippine administration’s forgiveness of Japanese war criminals in the 1950s and praised the progress made since then. Greater coordination in Defense is in the pipeline.