GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 July) — Unidentified gunmen opened fire at a radio station here while on regular broadcast Wednesday night, hitting a portion of the building but no casualties were reported.
Jonathan Macailing, station manager of dxES-Bombo Radyo here, said an undetermined number of assailants aboard a red pickup passed by their station along the Bula-Amao Road around 8:30 p.m. and fired several shots.
The incident happened as anchor Luna Bernard Bacalanmo was on-air with the station’s “Zona Libre” program.
Macailing said one of the bullets hit the radio station’s main glass door and the glass window of its recording room.
He said it was fortunate that none of their personnel was inside the recording room at that time, noting “the bullet’s trajectory was directly at the level of a person sitting there.”
“It was clearly a planned attack and meant to harass our personnel, and stop the station from tackling various critical issues,” he said in his radio program on Thursday morning.
Citing accounts from their security guards and personnel, Macailing said the attackers, who were positioned on the back seats, fired around eight to 10 times as the vehicle slowed down infront of their compound.
The security guards, along with the station’s personnel, immediately dropped to the ground as safety precaution during the shooting but managed to fire back.
The vehicle, which was reportedly an “old model pickup,” came from the direction of the Gensanville Subdivision in Barangay Bula and sped off towards the city proper after the incident.
At least six fired bullets, believed coming from caliber .45 and 9mm handguns, were recovered by responding police operatives inside the radio station compound and about five meters from the main gate.
Capt. Brent Ian Salazar, acting chief of city police station number-06, said they submitted the recovered slugs to ballistic examination.
“Our investigators are currently reviewing the CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras of the radio station, nearby checkpoints and establishments to establish the route of the suspects and their possible identities,” he told reporters.
A case conference was called by Col. Aden Lagradante, city police director, on Thursday morning to tackle the matter and plan their “nest steps,” he said.
Salazar said he immediately deployed a patrol car and a team of personnel to secure the radio station “in case the suspects would attempt to return.”
The radio station continued with its normal operations despite the attack, which Macailing believed was connected to their “hard-hitting” commentaries and discussions on issues about various illegal investment schemes in the area, among them that of controversial religious group Kapa Community Ministry International Inc.
He said the latest issue they tackled was the Supreme Court’s junking of a case filed by a Kapa investor against the national government.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier ordered the closure of Kapa, which had been stripped by the Securities and Exchange Commission of its registration for soliciting investments from the public in the guise of donations with a monthly return of 30 percent through a “Ponzi-like” scheme.
“We’ve been actually getting daily threats through our cellphone hotline numbers because of these,” Macailing said.
In September last year, Macailing and the station’s news director, Salvador Galano, were arrested in a supposed entrapment for allegedly trying to extort P5 million from Kapa founder, Pastor Joel Apolinario.
But the two denied the accusations, calling it a “set-up” in retaliation for their commentaries against Kapa and Apolinario.
Several Kapa members also filed an online libel case against the radio station but was dismissed last April by the City Prosecutor’s Office for lack of merit. (MindaNews)