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Gov’t to press charges vs. alleged gunman in Bislig radioman’s slay

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/12/2018 Kaufman, Karl
Christopher Lozada © Provided by GMA News Online Christopher Lozada

Malacañang on Monday said the government will press charges against the alleged gunman in the killing of Bislig City-based radioman Christopher Lozada in October last year.

Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said the suspect, Rolly Mahilum, was identified on February 25 by a witness after browsing through photos stored in Lozada's laptop.

Mahilum is said to be the driver and close aide of former Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro, who was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman last September following a complaint filed by Lozada and other individuals over the city government's questionable purchase of a P14.7-million hydraulic excavator in 2012.

"We cannot give you the other details about out next steps, because we don’t want to telegraph our punches to the other side," Egco said in a news conference.

"And rest assured that we are doing this, because we are sincere, the government is sincere in running after anybody or anyone who maims, who threatens and who even kills journalists, especially during the time of President Rodrigo Duterte."

Lozada, operations manager and anchor of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network, died last October 24 in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, after unidentified men on board a van opened fire on his vehicle on his way home.

His girlfriend, Honey Faith Tuyco, was wounded in the attack.

Earlier, PTFoMS said Lozada had informed them that Navarro texted him "to leave Bislig if you do not want to die" and that "he would step down with Lozada who will go to the cemetery since his days are numbered."

Lozada was offered security but he refused, saying that he wanted to document the threats against him so that in case he is harmed, PTFoMS could run after Navarro.

Navarro has already denied involvement in the killing of Lozada.

In a report on Sun Star, Navarro said Lozada is "like a son" to him, although he has filed three counts of libel against Lozada in 2012.

Navarro also said he is "open to any investigation and I will face in court anybody who's interested to file" a case against him.  —KBK, GMA News

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