Surigao media organizations condemn attack on radio journalist

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 1 July) – Local media organizations in Surigao has condemned the attack against a radio anchorman and commentator Saturnino “Jan” Estanio Jr. of DXRS-Surigao City on Thursday.

“We strongly condemn the dastardly act against our colleague in the media. We urge authorities to conduct thorough probe that would lead to the arrest of those responsible, including its mastermind,” Jojo Ferol, president of the Media Association of Surigao, told MindaNews via online chat.

She said the attack, the first in the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte as it happened shortly after he assumed office, is part of the culture of impunity in the locality and it is an attack against the press that serves as the watchdog of society.

Fernando Almeda Jr., the founding president of Surigao Press and Radio Club, also condemned the attack. “This has to stop. This is part of the overall culture of impunity which is pervasive,” he said in a phone interview, adding that the attack was a message to silence the media in Surigao.

“This assault of the members of the media should be stopped. Government should find something to put a stop to this,” he stressed.

Almeda noted that the outspoken Estanio has been waging a campaign against illegal gambling, illegal drugs and criminalities in his radio program.

Estanio, 41, suffered three gunshot wounds on his back during the gun attack by riding-in tandem assailants around 5 p.m. Thursday outside his house in Sitio Bioborjan, Barangay Rizal in Surigao City.

Aside from Estanio, his 12-year-old son JV was hit by a bullet in the chest.

Gay Dolfo Tiu, the station manager of DXRS-RMN-Surigao City, told MindaNews Friday over online chat that both the victims are now in stable condition and recuperating at the Surigao Medical Center.

Also a neighbor of Estanio who happened to pass by the area during the attack was not spared by gunman’s bullet. Allan Tinambakan Canibel, 52, sustained a gunshot wound on his right shoulder and now confined at the Caraga Regional Hospital, according to PO3 Mark Anthony Mioli, investigator of the case.

“We are calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to help solve this recent attack of a member of the media,” Almeda said.

Several members of the media in Surigao were killed or attacked since the early 1980s.

Almeda identified those killed in the 1980s as Vicente Minimnio, editor of Surigao Star; Liting Paloma, publisher of the same weekly newspaper; and Ben Mongaya, contributor of Surigao Star. They were killed in separate incidents, according to Almeda.

Nick Servantes, a columnist of the local weekly newspaper The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer, was killed in 2005, Almeda said.

Rey Salas, an editor of Surigao Star and radio commentator, was also reportedly attacked but survived in 1990s.

Manny Kong, a radio-block timer and spokesperson of the Matugas political clan, was attacked twice; in 2003 and 2007, but survived both attacks.