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Philippine radio host Juan Jumalon fatally shot in his home, police say

Juan Jumalon had just finished speaking into a silver microphone as he live-streamed his Sunday morning broadcast for a Philippine radio station. As a song began to play, Jumalon — known as DJ Johnny Walker — was fatally shot while viewers watched the program live on Facebook, Philippine officials said.

Jumalon, a 57-year-old anchor for 94.7 Calamba Gold FM, was shot twice while on air from his home studio in the southern province of Misamis Occidental, police said.

The gunman stole a gold necklace from Jumalon before fleeing, a government office focused on media security said in a statement to The Washington Post. Video of the attack shows Jumalon sinking back in his chair after two gunshots are fired while music plays. The apparent attacker, whose face is not visible in the video, is also seen taking Jumalon’s necklace.

The shooting happened about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Misamis Occidental police said in a Facebook post. Authorities asked for the public’s help in the investigation as the search for the attacker continues.

On Monday morning, police released a sketch of a suspect, a man they say is over the age of 40 and was wearing a red cap with a green shirt and black short pants. The attacker fled on a motorcycle driven by someone waiting outside the home, the Associated Press reported, citing local police.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned the shooting in a statement on Sunday and said he had ordered the national police to investigate.

“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions,” Marcos said in the statement, which was posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Jumalon is the fourth member of the press to be killed since Marcos, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, took office in June 2022, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which tracks attacks against Filipino journalists. The organization described Jumalon’s death as a “brazen killing” in a statement posted on X.

The Philippines has a marked history of violence against journalists. Just last year, radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, who was vocal about corruption in the country, was fatally shot while driving in Manila. His death garnered international attention, as press advocates called for accountability in the case. Philippine law enforcement later charged multiple people in the case, including a corrections bureau official, according to Human Rights Watch.

Between 1992 and 2023, 158 journalists and media workers have been killed in the Philippines, data from the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The organization ranked the Philippines as the eighth-worst country for prosecuting people accused of targeting journalists in its 2023 Global Impunity Index.

On Sunday evening in Quezon City, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and other groups met to light candles in honor of Jumalon and other slain members of the press.

“Justice for Juan Jumalon!” an online poster for the event read. “Stop killing journalists! End impunity!”

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