ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A radio broadcaster was shot dead on his way to his radio program in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental yesterday.
The victim was identified as Ernie Rullen, a blocktimer at dxSY based in Ozamis City. His wife Laya survived the pre-dawn attack.
Reports from the Army 1st Tabak Division disclosed that the couple were on board their motorcycle on their way to the radio station when an unidentified gunman fired at them when they pulled into a gas station in Oroquieta City.
“Rullen had parked his motorcycle and was walking to the bus stop when he was gunned down,” said Joy Reyes of radio dxSY.
The suspect fled on a motorcycle in an undetermined direction.
The victim was rushed to the Oroquieta Emergency hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival by doctors.
Police authorities were looking into the possible motive for the killing of Rullen, who hosted a blocktime program, “Bantay Lungsod.”
Police said Rullen, a political commentator, shuttles between different radio stations in Ozamis, Oroquieta, Pagadian and Iligan City during elections.
His stinging and hard-hitting commentaries had earned him the ire of politicians in the aforementioned cities, leading to the filing of several libel cases against him.
Northern Mindanao police director Chief Superintendent Danilo Empedrad has created Task Force Rullen to investigate the incident and identify the assailants.
Rullen is the second journalist killed this year. In January, Badroddin Abbas, a part-time radio commentator and Muslim peace activist, was killed in an ambush in Cotabato City.
He is the 64th media practitioner killed since President Arroyo came to power in 2001, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists rank the Philippines as the second-most dangerous place for journalists, next only to Iraq. – Roel Pareño with Lino dela Cruz, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jessa Ortega, Philippine Star