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Broadcaster shot in Ilocos Sur over personal squabble

(CMFR/IFEX) - A squabble with a neighbor allegedly led to the shooting that almost killed a radio commentator in Bantay town, Ilocos Sur, approximately 337 kilometers from Manila.

Eugene "Commander Uno" Paet, a radio commentator for dwRS Commando Radio, was on his way home from work when two men riding on a motorcycle shot him twice from behind on 7 January 2010. The shooting occurred a few meters away from a local police headquarters along the national highway in Bulag Sentro, Bantay, Ilocos Sur.

In a 13 January phone interview with CMFR, Police Officer 3 Joel Javier said that Paet had identified his neighbor Mario Paa, also known as "Mayong", as his attacker. Paet named Paa in a statement given to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bantay town on 12 January.

Prior to the incident, Paet and Paa had an argument after the latter accused the former of illegally firing guns on New Year's Eve. Paa had also been in conflict with Paet's nephews.

Paet is now in stable condition after undergoing liver surgery at the Metro Vigan Cooperative Hospital.

Colleagues from the local media ruled out the possibility that the attack was work-related. DzTP's Arlon Serdenia, who also serves as the chairperson of the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, told CMFR on 13 January that dwRS is a pro-government radio station and critical remarks are few in their reports. The station is owned by the Singsons, a politically powerful clan in Ilocos Sur which includes Vice Gov. Jeremias Singson, Cong. Eric Singson and Provincial Board Member Ronald Singson. Former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson, the Singson patriarch, is a close ally of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and serves as the Deputy National Security Adviser.

Paet hosts the show "Operation Commando" every weekday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. He also hosts two other shows, "Karambola" (Collision) and "Ilocos Sur Hotline", which he cohosts with Ilocos Sur Governor Deogracias Victor "DV" Savellano.

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