GENERAL Luna, Siargao Island–Local media organiza-tions in Surigao took turns in condemning the Thursday attempt on the life of commentator Saturnino “Jan” Estanio Jr. of DxRS-Surigao City.
“We strongly condemn the dastardly act against our colleague in the media. We urge authorities to conduct a thorough probe that would lead to the arrest of those responsible, including its mastermind,” said Jojo Ferol, president of the Media Association of Surigao.
She said the attack, the first in the administration of President Duterte as it happened shortly after he assumed office, was part of the culture of impunity in the locality, and it was an attack on the press.
Fernando Almeda Jr., 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,” said Almeda, adding that the attack was a message to silence the media. “This assault of the members of the media should be stopped. Government should find something to put a stop to this.”
Almeda noted that the outspoken Estanio has been waging a campaign against illegal gambling, illegal drugs and other crimes in his radio program.
Estanio, 41, suffered three gunshot wounds in his back during the gun attack by motorcycleiding assailants outside his house at Sitio Bioborjan, Barangay Rizal in Surigao City.
Aside from Estanio, his 12-year-old son was hit by a bullet in the chest.
Gay Dolfo Tiu, DxRS station manager, said the victims were 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 Canibel, 52, sustained a gunshot wound on his right shoulder, according to PO3 Mark Anthony Mioli.
“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-blocktimer and spokesperson of the Matugas political clan, was attacked twice; in 2003 and 2007, but survived both attacks. (roel catoto of mindanews)