Broadcaster slay: Cops eye personal grudge as motive behind murder
MANILA, Philippines — Personal grudge is being eyed as one of the reasons behind the killing of a radio broadcaster whose murder was captured in a Facebook livestream of his program that was aired from a studio inside his house in Calamba, Misamis Occidental province, on Sunday morning.
This was as three separate government investigations have begun into the case of radio broadcaster Juan “DJ Johnny Walker” Jumalon,
“The National Bureau of Investigation is on the case already,” Department of Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano said in a message to reporters on Monday, explaining that the bureau had received some information immediately after the killing of the broadcaster and was now following leads to find the gunman.
The NBI was coordinating with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security for information-sharing, he added.
The Commission on Human Rights, through its Northern Mindanao office, also initiated a quick response operation for an independent motu proprio investigation of the broadcaster’s murder, which it called “a blatant violation of a person’s right to life.”
It said its investigation was aimed at determining if the broadcaster’s killing was work-related while likewise helping address the alarming trend of violence against journalists in the country. It would also include recommendations for the protection of media welfare and rights.
Looking deeper into killing of broadcaster
In a press briefing, the Misamis Occidental police said it was looking deeper into a personal grudge as the likely motive for the killing.
“We don’t discount the possibility that it was work-related but we are leaning more [toward a] personal motive, based on the accounts of the witnesses, and even the immediate family of the victim,” provincial police director Col. Dwight Monato said at a press briefing in the provincial capital of Oroquieta City. But he begged off from discussing additional details “so as not to preempt our investigation.”
He presented a computerized composite sketch of one of the suspects, which was based on witnesses’ accounts and closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage gathered by members of the newly formed Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Johnny Walker.
The suspect — who held a household member at gunpoint in the garage as the gunman barged inside the house and shot the broadcaster — was of medium build with fair complexion. Estimated to be 5 feet and 5 inches tall, 40 years old and above with a weight of around 70 kilograms, he was dressed in a green shirt, a black pair of shorts, and a red cap.
In Manila, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos reported that the SITG had carried out a crossmatching of the shells and slug found at the crime scene and an enhancement of the recovered CCTV footage with the help of the Philippine National Police Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit.
“We expect to have breakthroughs in this case at the soonest time possible,” he said in a statement.
Monato told reporters that based on the accounts of witnesses, they were looking for three suspects: the two men who entered the victim’s residential compound and a third who served as a lookout outside the gate.
Wife saw suspects
Jumalon’s widow, Jerrebel, who was interviewed by reporters at their house in Calamba, said she was awakened by someone ringing the doorbell on Sunday morning although she went back to sleep, saying she was used to people dropping by the studio to ask Jumalon for help.
Immediately after the shooting, Jerrebel said her son prevented her from going out. When she eventually did, she saw the gunman leaving her husband’s studio and followed him as he went out the gate. She said she saw three men leaving on a motorcycle, two of whom came from the compound, adding that all three were looking at her as they escaped.
“I thought one of our men had an altercation with somebody. It was only later when I entered the studio that I discovered it was Johnny who was shot,” Jerrebel added.
Politics ruled out
She ruled out Jumalon’s work as the likely reason for his killing, saying she was certain he had no enemies since he was only trying to entertain people through his program.
Jerrebel also rejected politics as her broadcaster husband was allied with the dominant political bloc led by Misamis Occidental Gov. Henry Oaminal. In 2022, Jumalon ran for municipal councilor of Calamba — a post he once held for one term — but lost. He was on the slate of incumbent Mayor Luisito Villanueva Jr.
The likely motive, the victim’s wife said, could be disputes arising from a conflicting land claim and their radio business.
The Inquirer learned that the Jumalons’ residence was built on a piece of property being claimed by a cousin, Prize Yap.
But Yap and her husband, Marlony, told reporters the dispute was about to be decided in court and there was a good chance the ruling would favor them.
Yap explained that she bought the 400-square-meter land from their uncle after Jumalon, who was already occupying the property and to whom the land was first offered for sale, rejected the deal.
Marlony stressed that if they wanted to kill him, they would not have gone to court after Jumalon asked the judge to annul the title to the property, which had been transferred to Yap’s name after the sale.
The Yaps also own radio station 97.3 MY-FM in Calamba town, a competitor of Jumalon’s 94.7 Gold-FM.
Marlony claimed, however, that the broadcaster had been sued by the National Telecommunications Commission for operating his radio station without a license.
Jumalon’s programs mainly promoted his JW products such as liniment oil, whitening soap, herbal soap, and many others. Colleagues also said earlier that he did not attack personalities on-air and just read greetings from his listeners.
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