Friday, October 12, 2007

Wounded radioman identifies attacker

CAGAYAN de Oro Journal (Ben Balce / Oct 12) — Radio commentator Jose "Joe" Pantoja, who was shot on Oct. 8 in Iligan City, has furnished police the name of one of his assassins after he woke up at the intensive care unit, a police official said yesterday.

THE GUNMEN. Pantoja shows to Cagayan de Oro mediamen the cartographic sketch of the three suspects during a press conference held at the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC).

Pantoja, who remains in hospital after surgery was done on his intestines and liver which were punctured by bullets, reportedly whispered the name to his wife Grace who then reported it to the police.

Sources said the identified suspect, believed to be a gun-for-hire, could be hiding out in Lanao del Norte. He is said to be a bodyguard of a lawyer closely associated with a politician.

"It seems he (Pantoja) knows all the assailants," said Insp. Venancio Reuyan, chief of the Iligan police precinct 1, said in a phone interview. He said they are waiting for Pantoja to recover enough to sign an affidavit against the suspects.

Two names surfaced earlier after authorities leaked a cartographic sketch of three suspects, and a mugshot of one of them. Reuyan said Pantoja’s revelation would help the police investigating the case even as he hinted of a new angle. "We cannot name names yet. But we will not stop on our previous lead," he said.
He reiterated that investigators suspect that the attack is related to politics and a ranking government official is behind it.

He also said they transferred Pantoja to an undisclosed place to secure him since the threat against his life remains.

Pantoja, a hard-hitting political commentator and block-timer of radio station DxLS-Love Radio, was attacked near the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) as he was about to have a document photocopied.


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