Broadcaster gunned down in Valencia City

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/30 Nov.) – A radio “block timer” was shot dead Friday night by four attackers in Valencia City.

Joash Dignos, who ran the commentary program “Bombardeyo” at DXGT Radyo Abante in Maramag town, Bukidnon died around 9:30 p.m.

The program aired from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. from Monday to Friday.

Pacifico Estore, Jr, radio anchor of the UMBN Radyo Ukay in Valencia, told MindaNews Saturday morning Dignos obtained 28 gunshot wounds.

The victim was with a group of friends in a watering hole in front the CAP Building along Sayre Highway. When he went to the rest room, one of the assailants followed him and started shooting, Estore said.

Dignos was reported to have run towards his car but was met with more bullets from three other assailants on the way out.

Estore, who is also president of the Bukidnon chapter of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, condemned the killing.

He reminded media practitioners however to be responsible. He said that Dignos earned many enemies because of the way he handled his program.

Dignos, he added, was known to be a harsh and hard-hitting commentator.

Mars Downy Ben Medina, program director of Radyo Abante said Dignos had been receiving death threats.

In June, Medina told this reporter Dignos had resorted to taping some of his radio programs to avoid having to go to the station regularly due to the death threats.

He had attacked politicians and other government officials on air.

Some residents who participated in a focus group discussion in Maramag and Quezon towns in April this year said Dignos’ program was their top choice for exposing alleged irregularities by politicians. Others, however, said they avoided the paid program for being too “noisy” and for being “too harsh.”

In 2010, according to a report in Cebu Daily News, Dignos publicly apologized to the Ouano family for commentaries he made in 2006, when he accused former Mandaue City mayor Thadeo Ouano of having an illicit affair with his daughter-in-law, Cheryl.

The report quoted Dignos as saying the commentaries he made on July 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in 2006 which were aired over radio dyHP were all “untrue.”

He admitted in a press conference he that the accusations were baseless.

The report cited that Dignos was facing seven counts of libel filed by Ouano then pending at the Mandaue City Regional Trial Court.

Quano was quoted to have said he was ready to withdraw the cases after the apology.

Before coming to Bukidnon, Dignos was assigned at the RMN station in Cagayan de Oro City. He was reassigned to the Cebu station in July 2006 as anchor for the program Birada.

In 2006, Dignos earned the ire of Mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. who ordered the closure of Valencia City-based DXVR, one of RMN’s stations.

The mayor said he padlocked the station because it has no business permit, but clarified he meant to stop only the commercial and commentary programs of the station. He complained then that his side was not being heard and accused Dignos of using press freedom as a front to attack him.

Dignos was quoted in reports to have vowed to file administrative charges against Galario for allegedly threatening to kill him.

In 2003, Galario also ordered the padlocking of DXMV.

Medina said Dignos did not take extra pre-caution despite the reported threats.

Valencia reporters told MindaNews he had aired the threats he received and told his audience that when it’s his time to go, it’s time to go. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)