Broadcaster gunned down in Valencia City

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/30 November) Four gun men were reported to have shot radio broadcaster Joash Dignos to death around 9:30 pm Friday.

Dignos is a radio block timer at DXGT Radyo Abante in Maramag, Bukidnon where he anchors his commentary program “Bombardeyo.” The program airs every 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning from Monday to Friday.

Pacifico Estore, Jr, radio anchor of the UMBN Radyo Ukay in Valencia City, told Bukidnon News Saturday morning Dignos obtained 28 gunshot wounds.

According to Estore said, Dignos was with a group of friends in a hangout venue in front the CAP Building along the Sayre Highway in Valencia City. When he went to the rest room, one of the assailants followed him and started shooting.

Dignos was reported to have run towards his car but was met with more bullets from three other assailants on the way out.

Estore, who is also president of the Bukidnon chapter of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, condemned the killing.

“NUJP Bukidnon strongly condemns the killing of Joash Dignos,” said a text message of the group’s statement.

Estore was quick to remind media practitioners to be responsible. He noted that Dignos had many enemies because of the way he handles his program. Dignos, he added, was known to be a harsh and hard-hitting commentator.

Mars Downy Ben Medina, program director of Radyo Abante said Dignos had been receiving death threats.

In June, Medina told this reporter Dignos has resorted to taping some of his radio programs to avoid having to go to the station regularly due to his death threats. That month, Dignos was spared from the explosion which rocked their station and wounded their student employee when his taped program was airing.

He had been noted to hit politicians and other government officials on air.

Some residents who participated in a focus group discussion in Maramag and Quezon towns in April this year had his program as a top choice to tune in for exposing alleged irregularities of politicians. Others, however, said they avoid the paid program for being too “noisy” and for being “too harsh on air.”

In 2010, according to a report on Cebu Daily News, Dignos publicly apologized to the Ouano family for commentaries he made in 2006, when he accused former Mandaue City mayor Thadeo Ouano of having an illicit affair with his daughter-in-law, Cheryl.

The report quoted Dignos as saying the commentaries he made on July 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in 2006 which were aired over radio dyHP were all “untrue.” He admitted in a press conference he called for a public apology that the accusations were baseless.

The report cited that Dignos was facing seven counts of libel filed by Ouano then pending at the Mandaue City Regional Trial Court (RTC). Quano was quoted to have said she is ready to withdraw the cases after the apology.

Before coming to Bukidnon, Dignos used to be assigned at the RMN station in Cagayan de Oro. He was reassigned to their Cebu station in July 2006 as anchor for the program Birada.

In 2006, Dignos earned the ire of Mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. who ordered the closure of Valencia City-based DXVR, one of Radio Mindanao Network stations.

The mayor invoked his right to padlock the station because it has no business permit but clarified he meant to stop only the commercial and commentary broadcast of the station. He complained then that his side was not being heard and accused Dignos of using press freedom as a front to attack him.

Dignos was quoted in reports to have vowed to file administrative charges against Galario then for threatening to kill him. In 2003, Galario also ordered the padlocking of DXMV Radyo Ukay.

Medina said Dignos did not take extra pre-caution despite the threats. Valencia City reporters told MindaNews he has aired the threats he received and told his audience, when it is his time to go, it’s time to go. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)

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