SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/06 July) — A radio broadcaster has accused an operator of illegal slot machines in the city as behind the death threats he received.
Tirso A. Clerigo Jr. of dxKS-RPN on Wednesday said the threats to his life came after he refused to accept bribe money from the operator.
He said he is not afraid but isn’t taking the threats lightly either.
“I’m not scared of this but if something happens to me, this operator of illegal slot machines will be tagged as responsible,” he added.
Clerigo said he went to the city police station on June 28 to have the incident reported.
On June 22 and 24, he mentioned in his program the alleged rampant operations of illegal slot machines in several villages in the city.
On both days, a person approached him and offered 5,000 pesos weekly for him just to stop airing the existence of “chololot”, the local name of slot machines.
“He went to the announcer’s booth and attempted to bribe me with 5,000 per week to stop the issue on illegal fruit game machines,” he said.
Clerigo said the person repeatedly told him through mobile text messages and in person to accept the bribe but he refused.
He said that on June 27 at 6:30pm, a young man told him about a supposed plan to kill him.
The Surigao Press and Radio Club and Surigao Media Association condemned the threats.
Two days after Clerigo reported the threats to the police, his colleague and the latter’s son were shot by unknown assailants.
Saturnino “Jan” Estanio Jr., anchorman of dxRS-RMN Surigao and his 12-year-old son, JV, were shot on June 30 outside their house in Barangay Rizal, this city.
The gunmen also shot a neighbor named Allan Canibel who happened to pass by the victims’ house at the time of the shooting.
All the victims had been discharged from the hospital but were still recuperating.
Estanio said he feel frustrated over what he called the slow investigation of the case by the police. He and his children sought refuge in an undisclosed location for their safety.
A day after the shooting, Supt. James Mejia, the provincial police director was relieved.
Mejia told MindaNews on Sunday that Estanio’s case is still under investigation.
In his recent broadcasts, Estanio had criticized the proliferation of illegal gambling, illegal drugs and alleged corruption by public officials and some government line agencies, according to Gay Tiu, the radio station manager.
Days before the shooting Estanio said an individual had threatened him regarding his tirade against the proliferation illegal gambling machines in the city. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)