Bislig reporter shot dead; city mayor eyed as person of interest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — A radio broadcaster was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the southern city of Bislig, police said Wednesday. Palace officials are eyeing the city's mayor as a person of interest in the reporter's death.

Christopher Iban Lozada was a radio broadcaster of DBXF Prime Broadcasting Network in Bislig City in the province of Surigao del Sur.

Lozada, 29, was driving home in his gray Toyota Vios, accompanied by his partner Honey Faith lndog, 25, when they were shot at late Tuesday by men riding a van, police reports said.

Lozada was declared dead on the spot. Indog was brought to the Andres Soriano Hospital in Bislig.

Fired cartridge cases of 7.62-mm and 5.56-mm caliber firearms were recovered from the scene, police said.

While police say they have yet to determine motives behind his killing, Lozada had posted several death threats he received on his Facebook page.


On Oct. 12 and 19, Lozada reported the threatening text messages he received from an unknown sender, said Chief Inspector Joseph Gementiza of the Bislig City Police Station.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Lozada was reportedly involved in the filing of charges against Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro. The mayor was dismissed in September by the Ombudsman over questionable purchases of a P14.7 million hydraulic excavator in 2012.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Killings (PTFoMS) said that Lozada was told by Navarro in texts "to leave Bislig if you do not want to die" and that "he would step down with Lozada who will go to the cemetery since his days are numbered."

"As a matter of policy, PTFoMS presumes Lozada's death as a media killing and falls under its mandate in relation to Administrative Order No. 1 (AO1) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to protect the life, liberty, and security of media workers," a statement from the task force said.

In a text message, the presidential task force's Undersecretary Joel Egco said the mayor is their person-of-interest in Lozada's death.    

The task force added they learned Lozada was heading to the regional Interior and Local Government office to press the agency to serve the Ombudsman's order.

During one of his live videos on Facebook after he received the threats, Lozada said, "I'm not an activist; I don't look for controversy. I'm not a political person, but I'm a person with compassion."

In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an administrative order creating the task force to handle media killings.

International group Human Rights Watch said there have been four journalists killed—Rudy Alicaway, Leodoro Diaz, Joaquin Briones and Larry Que—since Duterte took office in July 2016.