Bukidnon radio broadcaster survives ambush; doc says no gunshot wound

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews/28 November) – An anchor of an entertainment program in a radio station in  Maramag, southern Bukidnon survived an ambush on his way home in neighboring Valencia City shortly after 7 p.m. Friday.

Citing police reports, the November 27 alert from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Randy Makiputin of DXGT Radyo Abante in Maramag, “sustained a lone gunshot wound on the back of his head” but “attending physicians at the Sanitarium Hospital in Valencia City have already declared him out of danger.”

The NUJP alert quoted Police Senior Superintendent Leonilo Cabug of Task Force Usig-Region 10 in Cagayan de Oro City as saying that “the Valencia police were still in pursuit of the four gunmen who rode in tandem.”

But Makiputin, 39, anchor of Supergitik (Super Tickle) which focuses on music and jokes, but who also does occasional reporting, told MindaNews in a telephone interview Sunday morning that his doctor said he sustained a laceration at the back of his head, not a gunshot wound. He said the cut has been stitched and he has been discharged from the hospital.

Makiputin narrated he was heading for home in Dayo Subdivision when he noticed men riding on two motorcycles following him from Hagkol village, along the national highway. But while in a sugarcane farm near the subdivision, one of the motorcycles sped up and pulled closer to him. He said he just heard a ‘pitik’ (flick) at the back of his head and fell off his motorcycle.

But he managed to fire back using his caliber.45 pistol, he said.

He said he bought the gun because of threats on his life shortly before the elections last May.

According to Makiputin, he received a total of six text messages in 2008 and shortly before the May 2010 elections and that one of the messages read, “if we cannot get you in Maramag, we will get you in Valencia.”

He said he showed the text messages to a police officer in 2008 and had it blottered. He also told media colleagues about it.

Makiputin stressed he has no conflict with politicians. But he added that he joined and reported about raids against illegal gambling in southern Bukidnon, such as “swertres,” an illegal numbers game based on the last three digits of the winning lotto combination.

Radyo Abante used to be based in Maramag, transferred to Valencia but is now back to Maramag.

Makuputin said the threats pushed him to buy a caliber .45 pistol, which he had with him the night he was attacked.

Makiputin has been an employee of Radyo Abante since 2005. Prior to joining the station, he worked as a broadcaster of DXCL Cagayan de Oro, Roxanne Mabao, the station’s administrative officer, said.

Mabao told MindaNews by telephone early Sunday morning that Makiputin was asked last week to alternate as anchor of the station’s flagship public affairs program, “Abantegador,” since the regular anchor was on leave.

But Mabao said Makiputin is not known to be hard-hitting and the station has not heard of  recent threats on his life. She said they knew about the threats in 2008 but not the recent threats.

The NUJP Bukidnon chapter has not filed any report on the threats against Makiputin this year.

But NUJP Bukidnon chapter chair Arthur “Jun” Sapanghari told MindaNews Sunday that Makiputin told him before the May 2010 elections of a death threat he received in February.

“But we were not able to issue alerts about it because we had just re-organized by then,” he said.

Makiputin is a member of the Bukidnon Iron Brothers, a group which Mabao described as a privately-organized emergency rescue team.

Reports said that after visiting his parents in Kadingilan that afternoon, Makiputin had his motorcycle checked at a shop where he was also reported to have joined a drinking session before heading for home at around 7 p.m.

Both the National Bureau of Investigation and the Valencia City Police Office are conducting further investigation, Mabao said.

Nonita Rosales, station manager of DXMV Radyo Ukay and president of the Bukidnon chapter of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) vowed to conduct their own investigation, too. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)