PILI, Camarines Sur – Camarines Sur Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte said he was willing to shell out P500,000 as a bounty to anybody who could provide information that would lead to the identification of the killers of local broadcaster Romeo Olea.
Olea, 49,a hard hitting radio commentator employed by radio DWEB-FM based in Iriga City, was on his way to report to work when gunned down by two suspects on board a motorcycle early morning of June 13. He was declared dead on arrival at the nearby hospital.
Saying the case “is a clear suppression of the freedom of the press that is guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution, Villafuerte said he wanted a speedy resolution of the case as he strongly condemned the killing, the second attack on local journalists in less than a year. Olea’s workmate, Miguel Belen, was also shot dead by two assailants riding tandem in a motorcycle on July 9, 2010.
The Bicol police has identified and arrested one of Belen’s suspected killers while his accomplice, a woman said to be a former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel remains at large.
The Camarines Sur provincial office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said they were still facing a blank wall in their investigations of the Olea murder although several angles or motives behind the killing are being considered. PNP provincial director Senior Supt. Procopio Lipana however begged off from divulging further information to the media.
Lipana has been tasked to spearhead the investigation under the newly created Task Force Olea upon the orders of Bicol PNP Regional Director Cecilio Calleja who instructed him to utilize all available resources to solve the crime and put the suspects behind bars.
A report of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) provincial office based in Naga City said Olea’s killing has brought together three top Bicolano officials calling for swift justice for the victim. Earlier, Sec. Jessie Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Justice Sec. Leila De Lima sounded determination to bring the perpetrators behind bars.
Robredo, the former mayor of Naga City, visited the wake of Olea over the weekend at San Miguel Iriga City Chapel and personally extended his condolences to the victim’s bereaved family. Olea left behind his wife, Racquel and two young sons. De Lima is a native of Iriga City.
Dante Jimenez, the chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) who also hails from Iriga City has joined the three officials in calling for justice for Olea.
Olea was the seventh journalist to be killed in Bicol since 1997 and most of the cases remain unsolved. Evelyn Joy Militante, who anchored a local news program of the GMA television network, was beaten to death in broad daylight near her rented apartment in Legazpi City early morning of September 27, 1997. The local police has arrested and charged in court a suspect who was later acquitted.
On Nov. 18, 2005, Sorsogon City-based broadcaster Ricardo Uy was gunned down by a lone assailant at his residence in Barangay Basud while John Villanueva Jr., a broadcaster in Legazpi City was shot dead as he was heading home to Camalig, Albay in the evening of April 28, 2003. Both cases remain unsolved.
Nelson Nadura of radio DYME based in Masbate City was killed on Dec. 2, 2004 and Rowel Endrinal of radio DWRL in Legazpi City died from bullets fired by a lone gunman near his residence on Feb. 11, 2004. Nadura’s murder is yet to be resolved while a suspect in Endrinal’s killing believed to be a hired gun has been arrested and charged in court. (Danny O. Calleja/PNA)