Police probe land dispute in Filipino radio journalist’s murder

Police suspect that a heated argument over a land dispute could have escalated into the murder of a Filipino journalist who was shot dead during a live radio broadcast over the weekend, media reported on Monday.

Juan Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker, was streaming live on Sunday from his home in Calamba, Misamis Occidental province, when unknown assailants fatally shot him.

Juamlon might have had a heated argument over a land dispute hours before the attack, according to the police report accessed by several local media.

The attack shocked viewers and listeners who were following the live broadcast of the program on Gold FM Station.

Jumalon had previously filed claims for falsification of public documents against two individuals in a land dispute, identified as Prize Liberfine and Rodolito Yap, the police report said.

One of the gunmen pretended to have lost a wallet and a key, and wanted Jumalon’s help by making a public appeal live on his show, said the police.

Disputes over land and other possessions are behind many violent deaths in Mindanao, a region south of the archipelago plagued by decades of conflict between indigenous groups, rebels, and political clans.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  condemned the attack and ordered an investigation.

“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions,” Marcos Jr wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Since 1986, nearly 200 journalists have been killed in the Philippines, including four since Marcos Jr. took office in June 2022, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) data.

“The attack is even more condemnable since it happened at Jumalon’s own home, which also served as the radio station,” the union said in the statement.

US-based Freedom House says the Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

The killing comes in the same week as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. EFE

By Web Desk