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2012 off to a bloody start

Philippines | Press Freedom

MANILA, Jan. 6 – Motorcycle gunmen riding in tandem shot dead a broadcaster-publisher in the presence of his horrified wife and daughter in General Santos City in southern Philippines late Thursday night, police said.

Shot at close range while pleading for his life was Christopher Guarin, 42, a veteran radio block-timer commentator and publisher of  Tatak News Nationwide, a local community newspaper in General Santos City some 850 kilometers south of Manila.

Senior Supt. Cedric Train, city police director, said that Guarin was driving home from his radio program, together with his wife, Lyn and daughter AC when they were ambushed.

Guarin was the first Philippine journalist slain in 2012. Three days earlier, the victim reported receiving death threats through text messages.

Before becoming publisher, Guarin was former station manager of Super Radyo before he transferred to another radio station.

The killing was well planned as the gunmen riding in tandem on a motorcycle apparently waited for Guarin who was on board his car to pass by along the national highway at about 10 p.m. Thursday.
Guarin’s wife told police investigators that they were approaching the junction area when the suspects, who were aboard a white Honda XRM motorcycle, suddenly closed in on their vehicle and shot her husband once.

The bullet lightly struck her husband on the head. The bullet also grazed her right arm.

At this juncture, Mrs. Guarin said her husband immediately stopped the vehicle, told 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, sobbing.

Lyn said they immediately brought her husband to the nearby city district hospital but he was pronounced dead by hospital doctors.  Police Officer 2 Gerald Mark Oliver Jubelag, investigator of the Lagao police station, said the victim sustained six gunshot wounds in his head and body from a .45 caliber handgun.

Meantime, Freddie Solinap, manager of Guarin’s daily tabloid Tatak News, confirmed that the victim received death threats through text messages several days ago.

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

He said Guarin, who appeared to have been surprised of the the threat, even read the text message on air and explained that he had 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 was a very quiet person and had no known enemies,” Solinap said.

Lyn confirmed that her husband received a prior death threat but they just took it 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.

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