Witness Identifies Suspect in Killing of Surigao Broadcaster
CMFR/PHILIPPINES- A witness has identified a suspect in the killing of radio broadcaster Christopher Lozada, who was gunned down in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur on 24 October 2017. (See:”Radio Broadcaster Shot Dead in Surigao del Sur“)
In a Palace press briefing last March 12, Joel Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said a witness identified the gunman from photos in the laptop of Lozada’s staff. The suspect, Rolly Mahilum, is the driver and close aide of the family of Bislig mayor Librado Navarro, who filed a libel case against Lozada in 2012.
Mahilum had been charged for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition in November 2017. He remains at large.
Egco said the PTFoMS will file appropriate charges against Mahilum. He clarified that the task force has not yet established any direct involvement of the Navarro family to the crime.
Lozada, operations manager and anchor of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network, was killed on his way home with his partner Honey Faith Indog, who survived the attack. Prior to his killing, Lozada had been receiving multiple death threats which he believed were from Navarro.
The slain broadcaster was involved in the filing of a complaint against Navarro regarding a questionable purchase of a PHP14.7-M hydraulic excavator. In September 2017, Navarro was ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for grave misconduct. Navarro had denied involvement in Lozada’s killing.
Lozada is the fifth journalist killed under the Duterte administration. Since 1986, 156 journalists have been killed in the line of duty.