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HomeNational NewsGov’t offers witness protection to gunman’s family

Gov’t offers witness protection to gunman’s family

THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) is willing to intercede with the Department of Justice to consider entering the family of the suspected gunman in the killing of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro radio block timer Cresenciano ‘Cris’ Aldovino Bundoquin under the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) if this can aid in convincing him to surrender.

“If securing the family of identified gunman, Isabelo Lopez Bautista can help induce him to surrender and bare everything he knows, the government is willing to take this route,” PTFoMS executive director Paul M. Gutierrez said, after conferring with DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday (June 8).

Bautista, 45, a resident of Bansud, has been positively identified as the gunman by the SITG Bundoquin formed by the Philippine National Police to handle the case. The police said two witnesses had already executed their sworn statements identifying Bautista as the gunman.

A case for murder and attempted murder filed against Bautista by the SITG has been pending at the Calapan Prosecutor’s Office since June 5, 2023, for its ‘evaluation’ prior to submission to the court, according to SITG Bundoquin ground commander and Oriental Mindoro police director, P/Col. Samuel Delorino.

A radio block timer at the local Kalahi News FM, Bundoquin, 50, was shot to death by two motorcycle-riding armed men around 4:20 am in front of his rented store in Bgy. Sta. Isabel, Calapan City, last May 31.

The gunman was later identified as Bautista while his cohort, identified as Narciso Ignacio Guntan from Roxas town, died after their motorcycle crashed when it hit a metal road barrier during their escape.

According to information, both suspects are workers in the local peryahan scene in Mindoro and Bautista had also worked as a driver and doing other odd jobs to some influential individuals in the province.

Gutierrez said the P50,000 reward offered by a concerned individual who declined to be named remains to anyone who can give information leading to the arrest of Bautista.

“But if Bautista voluntarily surrenders to PTFoMS, the amount would go to his family,” Gutierrez said, adding Secretary Remulla is also “willing” to add a “substantial amount” in case Bautista turns himself to the task force.

“For the moment, Bautista is the key personality in unmasking a possible conspiracy by some influential quarters in Mindoro to eliminate Bundoquin.

His safety and that of his family is thus of paramount concern to the government,” Gutierrez said.

The PTFoMS had earlier rejected the claim that only ‘personal grudge’ was behind the shooting of Bundoquin by Bautista and Guntan.

Citing the guidance of the justice secretary, Gutierrez told the SITG Bundoquin that all possible angles must be investigated and all those possibly involved, prosecuted.

“What our justice secretary wants to happen in this instance is that all possible motives and angles should be investigated and that, based on solid evidence, all those involved in the attack on Bundoquin should be identified and prosecuted.

“The clear message we want to send is that the government gives serious attention to the life, security, and liberty of all members of the press,” Gutierrez said.

Citing information provided to the task force by reliable sources from other government agencies, Gutierrez said at least 3 other individuals, one of them a police major at the Region 4B (Mimaropa) Police Office, should also be investigated.

Another is a provincial official belonging to a prominent political clan in Mindoro while the other is a long time, ‘big time’ operator of ‘perya’ (local parlor games and rides during town fiestas) with close link to many local officials and close association with the police major.

To get a clearer picture of what happened, Secretary Remulla had directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel investigation of the incident.

From the stream of information the PTFoMS is now getting from other reliable sources, other persons, not just the 3 first cited, may be involved in the incident.

“Thus, Secretary Remulla deemed it best to allow the NBI to conduct a parallel probe for us get a clear picture of what happened and who are the other persons who may have ‘masterminded’ the attack on Bundoquin,” Gutierrez said.

“The emerging motive is the proliferation of illegal gambling in the province using ‘perya’ as a cover and politics as both were severely criticized by Bundoquin in his radio program,” Gutierrez explained. (UnliNews Online)

Manny D. Balbin
Manny D. Balbin
Emmanuel "Manny" Dineros Balbin, founder and editor-in-chief of UNLINEWS ONLINE and UNLINEWS Digital Newspaper, is a former seminarian of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Notre Dame University Seminary in Cotabato City. Graduated college with Philosophy and Political Science courses at the University of Santo Tomas, Legazpi City. A former Journal Group of Publication (People's Journal, People's Tonight, Taliba & Women's Journal) staffer for 17 years. Before, he simultaneously contributed news articles to 3 local newspapers in Bulacan (NewsCore, MetroNews & NewsWatcher). He is the founder and the former editor-in-chief of RONDA Balita, both in weekly newspaper and online news. A former Kabayan provincial reporter, 2010 Bulacan election correspondent by Rappler and presently, a stringer of Philippine News Agency (PNA) Bulacan.


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