FM radio blocktimer is first media practitioner killed in 2013

CMFR/PHILIPPINES—A city councilor who is also a radio blocktimer was shot dead by a lone gunman in an apparent ambush in San Pablo City in the province of Laguna on 2 January 2013. San Pablo City is approximately 84 kilometers south of Metro Manila.

“Blocktimers” are individuals who purchase blocks of radio time for which they have sponsors.  Many Philippine politicians in the communities are also blocktimers.

An unidentified man approached and shot city councilor and radio commentator Edgardo “Egay” Adajar and his bodyguard, Leonardo Ronaldo, in front of a cockpit in the village of Concepcion. According to the local police, Adajar and Ronaldo were walking back to their vehicle when they were attacked. The gunman escaped on an unregistered motorbike driven by another man.

Adajar and Ronaldo were brought to a hospital nearby. Adajar, with a gun-shot wound in the head and right thigh, was dead when he reached the hospital. Ronaldo, who also sustained a gunshot wound in the head, died later.

Adajar hosted the radio program “Doc Egay and Co” which aired Monday to Saturday mornings on Hot FM 101.5. Paul Gutierrez, a columnist of the Manila newspaper People’s Journal and Adajar’s co-host and long-time friend, told CMFR that Adajar started to produce and host political talk shows over cable TV in 1998, when he was first elected as city councilor. After losing the vice mayoralty race in 2007 and withdrawing from politics and television, Adajar successfully ran again for city councilor in 2011.

Gutierrez said Adajar reported receiving a death threat to the police on 29 December 2012.

Asked about the possible motive for Adajar’s killing, Gutierrez mentioned the decade-long feud between Adajar and Congresswoman Ivy Arago that started when both Adajar and Arago were councilors. Gutierrez said Adajar regularly criticized Arago over his program.

But Adajar also publicly criticized other media practitioners, political opponents and policemen allegedly protecting illegal gambling operators and illegal drugs dealers.

Police chief inspector Sergio Manacop said a “Special Investigation Task Group” has been formed to speed up investigation of the case. Manacop is the task group’s spokesperson, while provincial director police senior superintendent Pascual Muñoz Jr. is the group’s head.

According to Manacop, cartographic sketches of the gunman and his accomplice have already been distributed. A reward of P800,000 (approximately USD 20,000) for the apprehension of the perpetrators has also been offered.