AGENTS of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 4-B on Saturday continued their massive hunt for the escaped killer of 50-year old radioman Cresenciano Bunduquin in Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro, with all exit points already sealed to prevent the gunman from leaving the province.
PRO4-B director, Brigadier General Joel B. Doria said that members of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Bunduquin have been working round-the-clock to catch the killer, whose accomplice died when their getaway motorcycle figured in a vehicular crash while trying to escape the crime scene.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. said he has ordered the PRO4-B to thoroughly explore all angles to identify the killer and the “brains” behind the radio broadcaster’s murder as well as their motive.
The two suspects escaped after shooting Bunduquin around 4:20 a.m. last Wednesday along C-5 Road in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Calapan City. However, the driver, identified as Narciso Guntan, was killed when their motorcycle collided with another vehicle in their haste to flee.
Acorda said that the capture of the remaining assailant will be the top priority of the SITG Bunduquin led by Oriental Mindoro Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Samuel Delorino.
“The pieces of evidence gathered at the crime scene are currently being studied, alongside the testimonies of witnesses, which we hope will provide our investigators with solid leads moving forward,” said the top cop as he expressed confidence in the ability of his men to solve the case immediately.
He also urged anyone with vital and verifiable information to come forward and assist in the ongoing probe, emphasizing the importance of bringing Bunduquin’s killers to justice swiftly.
He assured the public that the PNP will work to apprehend the perpetrators responsible for the appalling act which he condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Acorda also emphasized the utmost importance placed on the safety and well-being of members of the working press.
While characterizing the incident as “isolated,” he acknowledged the inherent risks that journalists face in the pursuit of their professional duties.
The PNP chief committed to ensure the protection of journalists, allowing them to exercise their freedom to report without fear.
“Our goal is to safeguard their freedom to report and uphold the principles of a free and independent press,” he said as he maintained that the PNP remains dedicated to upholding the rule of law, ensuring the safety of all citizens, and protecting the rights and freedoms of media professionals in the Philippines.
On Wednesday, a massive dragnet launched by the PRO4-B against the killers of Bunduquin caused the suspects to panic leading to the death of one of the two as their motorcycle crashed with another vehicle as they tried to elude pursuing authorities.
According to Doria, he ordered the immediate dragnet operation to capture the two motorcycle-riding assassins who shot the radioman in front of a “sari-sari” store.
He said that in their haste to escape, the driver of the getaway motorcycle collided with another vehicle. As a result, the suspect identified as Guntan suffered serious head and body injuries and died on the spot.
The official said that two caliber .45 semi-automatic pistols were recovered from the possession of the dead suspect whose motorcycle was also impounded. The records of the motorbike are being checked with the Land Transportation Office to give more clues to the identities of the killers.
PNP Public Information Office (PIO) chief, Brig. Gen. Redrico A. Maranan, also the chief focal person of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, said that investigators from the Calapan City Police Station have been joined by agents from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Forensic Group and the Intelligence Group in probing the deadly attack.
“We are maximizing our efforts to get more pieces of evidence and testimonies in order to shed light on this incident and facilitate the immediate arrest of the perpetrators,” he said.
Maranan said that the SITG has been working with the victim’s family and his colleagues to gather more relevant information.
“While his work as a media representative involves discussion of critical issues, we cannot fully conclude as of this time that the motive is work-related, but we are exploring all possible angles as of this time,” he said.
“We assure our media colleagues that the PNP prioritizes the security of those working in the media industry. The PNP Media Vanguards will directly oversee the course of investigation of this incident,” the PNP-PIO chief added.
The PNP leadership has extended its sincerest condolences to the family and media colleagues of Bunduquin of DWXR 101.7 Kalahi FM MUX Online Radio.
It also welcomed the assurance of support by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) under Executive Director Gilbert Cruz in the ongoing investigation.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) headed by Paul M. Gutierrez said that Bunduquin was the second radio blocktimer killed since October 2022, the first being Percy Lapid.
“Absence of evidence to the contrary, his death is now deemed ‘work-related’ to facilitate the investigation,” the official said as he commended Acorda and Doria for the immediate operationalization of the existing mechanism agreed between the PTFoMS and the PNP for such an incident through the creation of SITG Bunduquin.
Gutierrez also commended the PAOCC for assuring full support to the PTFoMS in solving this dastardly act at the soonest time possible.
The PTFoMS has offered a P50,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the remaining suspect.