Charges to be filed vs killer of Surigao journalist ​Lozada​

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THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Monday, March 12, said it is set to file criminal charges against the main suspect in the killing of radio broadcaster Christopher Iban Lozada.

Witnesses, PTFoMS Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco said, have identified the suspect as Rolly Mahilum, who is allegedly a “driver   and close aide of the family of Bislig City Mayor   Librado C. Navarro.”

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. said the PTFoMS will initiate the filing of appropriate charges against the suspect who remains at large.

“He (Mr. Lozada) was killed last Oct., 24 (2017) while he was driving home along with his live-in partner Honey Faith Toyco in his own barangay in the City of Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Lozada died on the spot, while (Ms.) Toyco sustained a gunshot (wound) and was rushed to Andres Soriano Hospital for treatment,” narrated Mr. Egco.

On Nov. 7 last year, the PTFoMS coordinated the implementation of two search warrants by a team of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at the residences of Felixberto Villosino ,Jr. and Rolly Mahilum who were named by sources as suspects in the shooting incident.

In the same month, Mr. Egco said, the PTFoMS “received a report from Senior Superintendent Francisco Dungo, Jr. OIC of the PNP-PPO, Surigao Del Sur” indicating that Mr. Lozada was facing a libel case filed by the Bislig City mayor.

The police investigation also found that Mr. Lozada had been receiving threats through text messages from an unidentified sender.

Further police probe later discovered that the suspected getaway vehicle used in the Lozada shooting, a Toyota Hi-Ace Van with plate number SFJ 951, is registered as a property of the Bislig City government.

Mr. Navarro has yet to respond to a police request for a check and verification of the vehicle.

“So our next step is that, we are going to file appropriate charges against Rolly Mahilum. We cannot give you the other details about out next steps, because we don’t want to telegraph our punches to the other side. And rest assured that we are doing this, because we are sincere, the government is sincere in running after anybody or anyone who maims, who threatens and who even kills journalists, especially during the time of President Rodrigo R. Duterte,” Mr. Egco said. — Arjay L. Balinbin