Suspect in Broadcaster’s Attempted Slay Identified

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BANTAY, Ilocos Sur ? The principal suspect in the murder attempt of a veteran broadcaster in Ilocos Sur has already been identified by the Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Office.

Mario Paa, a resident of Barangay Bulag East, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, was named as suspect in the assassination attempt on Eugene Paet, a commentator of DWRS radio station, according to Senior Superintendent Eduardo A. Dopale, Ilocos Sur Police Provincial director.

On the evening of January 7, 2010, Paet was shot at by two men riding in a motorcycle while he was on his way home after his program “Operation Commando”. They shot him twice but hit him once on his left side. Paet managed to stop his motorcycle and sought help. He was rushed to the hospital while the suspects fled.

The veteran broadcaster is now stable after a four-hour operation. Jun Ramos, the news director of Commando Radio said that Paet is still in the intensive care unit for observation.

Dopale said the suspect was a neighbor of the victim. Their investigation showed that the two figured in a heated debate last New Year’s Eve regarding indiscriminate firing of a gun. The suspect accused the victim of firing a gun, which the victim vehemently denied. Dopale said a case of frustrated murder against the suspect would be filed at the provincial prosecutor’s office.

The suspect will be arrested as soon as a warrant of arrest is issued by the court. Dopale also said the motive was not related to Paet’s work as a broadcaster but due to a personal grudge, citing the fight between the two.

Nevertheless, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines – Ilocos Sur (NUJP-IS) Chapter chaired by Arlon Serdenia strongly condemned the shooting.

“The shooting of a broadcaster in the province is an attack to our constitutional right for the freedom of expression,” Serdenia said.

The NUJP Ilocos Sur Chapter urged the authorities to resolve the case and to create a task force to investigate the shooting incident.

“Let us also demand an accounting from the government for its failure to protect and defend our rights not only as media but as a citizen. It is also a very ironic that the scene of the crime is in the front of the police provincial headquarters,” Serdenia said. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat)

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