A lone gunman shot dead Jose Bernardo, a radio dwIZ correspondent and columnist of tabloid Bandera Pilipino, in front of a restaurant in Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City, Saturday night, Philippines Star reports.
Restaurant employee Marlon Deonio, 23, was also injured after a stray bullet hit him in the chest. He is recuperating at the nearby Bernardino Hospital.
Bernardo had two gunshot wounds in the head and died instantly. He is the 32nd journalist to be killed during the term of President Aquino and the third in Quezon City.
Bernardo is the public information officer of the Northern Police District Tri-Media Organization (NPD-TMO), a group of media workers covering the northern Metro Manila police beat. His Facebook account showed that he is a reporter of radio station dwBL.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Joel Pagdilao directed Quezon City police director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio to create a special investigation task force to probe the case.
“We should solve the killing of Bernardo as soon as possible,” Pagdilao said.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and Rep. Alfred Vargas condemned the killing, urging the police to investigate and solve the incident.
“We condemn the murder of the dwIZ correspondent. We gave instructions to QCPD to thoroughly investigate, intensify the manhunt and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Bautista told The STAR.
Vargas said, “We cannot tolerate this kind of violence and total disregard for human life. If this can happen to a journalist, it could happen to anyone.”
Initial reports showed that Bernardo was shot while parking his motorcycle in front of a fastfood restaurant along Zabarte Road in Barangay Kaligayahan, some 100 meters away from Quezon City’s boundary with Caloocan City.
Witnesses claimed the assailant, who appeared to be waiting for him, pulled out a handgun and shot him about 10 pm. When Bernardo fell to the ground bleeding, the gunman boarded a waiting motorcycle driven by a cohort and escaped toward Camarin, Caloocan City.
Police recovered several spent shells from a .45 caliber pistol at the scene.
Pagdilao said they have yet to establish the motive of the slaying.
“Police investigators were dispatched to his place of work and at the residence of the victim in order to gather information,” he added.
Responding policemen recovered Bernardo’s mobile phone, which would be subjected to forensic examination at the PNP crime laboratory.