UPDATED: Publisher shot dead in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY  (MindaNews/06 January) — A publisher of a community newspaper here was killed while his wife was wounded in an ambush by suspected hired gunmen late Thursday night.

Senior Supt. Cedric Train, city police director, identified the victim as Christopher Guarin, 42, publisher of local daily tabloid Tatak News and former station manager of defunct radio station RGMA Super Radyo here.

He said Guarin, along with his wife Lyn and nine-year-old daughter AC, were on their way home aboard their white Kia Pride sedan at around 10:30 p.m. when they were waylaid by two motorcycle-riding gunmen at the junction of Purok Sunrise and Naval Subdivision in Barangay Lagao here.

Guarin’s wife said they were approaching the junction when the suspects, who were riding a  white Honda XRM motorcycle, suddenly closed in on their vehicle and shot her husband once.

The bullet partially hit her husband in the head and her right arm before it exited their vehicle, she said.

She said her husband immediately stopped the vehicle, directed her and their daughter to duck and ran out saying, “I’m their only target.”

“He ran away from our car but the suspects followed him and shot him several times. I heard him shouting enough, enough while pleading for his life, before the suspects pumped more bullets on him,” Lyn said in the vernacular.

Lyn said they immediately brought her husband to the nearby city district hospital but he was pronounced dead by hospital personnel upon arrival.

Police Officer 2 Gerald Mark Oliver Jubelag, investigator of the Lagao police station, said the victim sustained six gunshot wounds on his head and body from a .45 caliber handgun.

He said the suspects, who did not wear any mask, immediately sped away towards the outskirts of the city.

Jubelag said that based on accounts from the victim’s wife, the motorcycle used by the suspects carried a license plate ending with number “41.”

“We’re currently drawing up the cartographic sketches of the suspects based on accounts from the victim’s wife and some witnesses,” he said.

Freddie Solinap, manager of Guarin’s daily tabloid Tatak News, said the victim received a death threat through text messages several days ago.

The victim, who also anchors with Solinap a blocktime radio program promoting a herbal medicine brand at Radio Mindanao Network’s station DXMD  here, received a threat via text message while on air two nights telling him “not to go out of the radio station because they will kill him.”

He said Guarin, who appeared very surprised with the threat, even read the message on air and explained that he has not been doing anything wrong since his program was only promoting a medicine brand.

“I really can’t think of anybody who would do this to him. He is a very quiet person has no known enemies,” Solinap said.

Lyn confirmed that her husband received a prior death threat but they just took them lightly “since we don’t have any enemies.”

But she confirmed that Guarin was earlier summoned for questioning by police investigators in its probe on the killing last November 11 of Brigada News circulation manager Alfredo Velarde Jr.

She said probers included Guarin in its investigation for being a “competitor” of Velarde’s newspaper.

“But nothing came out of it and we considered it closed since my husband had not even met the victim prior to the incident,” she added.

Guarin, who originally hails from Maco town in Compostela Valley, came to the city in the mid-1990s after he was hired as reporter of radio station DXES Bombo Radyo.

He worked for three years at Bombo Radyo, where he met his wife, before moving to DXBB Super Radyo as its chief reporter.

Guarin was promoted to program supervisor, assistant manager and was the station’s manager when it closed down about five years ago.

In the May 2010 elections, Guarin ran but lost his bid for a city council seat under an opposition slate here. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)