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Broadcaster survives ambush



(CMFR/IFEX) - On 14 June at around 9:00 a.m. (local time), four unidentified gunmen ambushed a local radio station commentator and his companions in Davao City, Davao del Sur, in Southern Mindanao, Philippines.




Juan "Jun" Pala of dxLL Radyo Ukay of the University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network (UMBN) and two companions were ambushed while their vehicle was caught in a traffic jam.

Pala had just spoken with staff members and left the radio station several minutes before the attack occurred. He was due to return to his daily radio programme, "Isumbong kay Pala", after filing a leave of absence on 30 March to campaign for a vice-mayoral position in the city. He lost the race. Pala is an outgoing city councillor.

Pala is in stable condition despite wounds to his right shoulder and neck, while his driver-bodyguard is in critical condition at the San Pedro Hospital in the city. His other bodyguard survived the ambush unharmed. DxLL management said Pala resumed airing his radio programme from his hospital bed the following day, 15 June.

Pala was the leader of the anti-Communist vigilante group Alsa Masa in the 1980s.

No motive or suspects in the attack have been identified. Police are investigating the incident.

Pala is the second dxLL broadcaster to be attacked in weeks. Candelario Cayona was killed on 30 May (see IFEX alerts of 1 June and 31 May 2001). The case is still being investigated.

UMBN President Guillermo Torres Jr. has condemned the attack and asked reporters and broadcasters from the radio station to be extra cautious. Davao City Press Club member Antonio Ajero urged police to fully investigate and arrest those responsible for Pala's ambush.