A well-known radio broadcaster in the Philippines, 57-year-old Juan Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker, was shot and killed during a live broadcast of his radio show on Sunday. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) issued a statement, expressing its condemnation of the incident, which occurred in Misamis Occidental on November 5.
Killing caught on live
Juan Jumalon was a dedicated radio broadcaster employed by Gold FM 94.7, a prominent radio station in the Philippines. The horrifying attack, carried out by unidentified gunmen, was captured on the radio station’s Facebook livestream.
The killing of Juan Jumalon prompted a response from the Philippine President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who publicly denounced the incident and called for a thorough investigation. In a statement, President Marcos Jr stated, “Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions.”
The NUJP, echoing the sentiments of many, described the attack on Jumalon as a “brazen killing.” The journalist was shot and killed in his own residence in Calamba, Misamis Occidental, which also served as the location of his radio station.
Senior NUJP member Kath Cortez revealed, “Many community journalists have reported to us receiving threats from politicians and their supporters in the aftermath of their coverage of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections last October 30.”
Preliminary findings by the Calamba police suggest that an individual requested access to the radio station’s premises to announce “something important,” as reported by Cebu Daily News. Senior police officer Paul Guigayoma of the Calamba municipal police station explained that two gunmen arrived on foot at approximately 5:35 a.m. on Sunday while Jumalon was on the air.
The attackers appeared to be familiar with the station’s layout, as they opened the iron gates and entered the premises. One of the gunmen produced a firearm from his pocket just before entering the broadcast booth where Jumalon was conducting his program. He fired a single shot at the journalist while the other kept watch.
The assailants quickly left the scene, with one allegedly taking a necklace that Jumalon was wearing. A video of the incident, widely circulated on social media, showed a man forcibly removing the necklace from Jumalon’s lifeless body.
Dead on arrival
Jumalon’s family rushed him to a nearby hospital, but sadly, doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival. The Mindanao Independent Press Council Inc (MIPC) decried the killing as “barbaric” and emphasized that attacks on journalists constitute a “grave assault on the fundamental principles of human rights, press freedom, and democracy itself.”
The tragic killing of Juan Jumalon marks the 199th such incident in the Philippines since 1986 and the fourth under the current Marcos administration. The recently published 2023 Global Impunity Index by the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the eighth-worst country in terms of prosecuting the killers of journalists.
This incident serves as a somber reminder of the threats faced by journalists worldwide and the urgent need to protect press freedom and the pursuit of truth.