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Suspect in shooting of radio reporter gunned down in Philippines

One of two suspects in the shooting of a radio broadcaster in Iloilo City was shot dead in Negros Occidental province on 5 January 2014, the police have reported. The other suspect is still unidentified.

Iloilo City in the Visayas island group is approximately 600 kilometers south of Manila. Negros Occidental is approximately 90 kilometers south-east of Iloilo City.

In a memorandum forwarded to CMFR dated 10 February 2014, the Office of the Chief Philippine National Police (OCPNP) said that police officer Rex de los Reyes, the primary suspect in the shooting of dyOK Aksyon Radyo Iloilo reporter Jonavin "Jhey-r" Villalba was gunned down in Barangay (Village) Miranda, Hinigaran town in Negros Occidental on 5 January 2014.

According to a report from Visayan newspaper The Daily Guardian, five men were seen grabbing two black bags from de los Reyes' car after the shooting and later fleeing aboard a red van. The suspects were arrested by policemen in hot pursuit.

A representative of the Hinigaran police told CMFR that the case against the five suspects had already been forwarded to the Himamaylan City Regional Trial Court. He refused to speculate on the possible motive for the shooting.

CMFR previously reported that two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle shot Villalba outside the reporter's house in Jaro district, Iloilo City on 10 December 2013. Villalba survived but sustained injuries in his foot. Two days later, unidentified men threw bags of human feces at the dyOK's office building.

Iloilo Police investigated the two incidents separately and identified de los Reyes as the primary suspect in Villalba's ambush.

The death of de los Reyes exempts him from being further investigated, but his companion during the shooting incident will still have to be identified and prosecuted.

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