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Radio anchor shot dead in Luzon

Authorities enforce a gun ban in the region

Gulf News

Manila: An anchor for a radio station in Central Luzon was shot dead yesterday even as authorities enforced a gun ban in connection with local plebiscite scheduled on December 1.

Julius Causon, 51, of radio station dzJJ, was shot several times by a gunman he was riding his motorcycle to work in Cabanatuan City, reports said. He was rushed to the hospital by two concerned citizens but was declared dead by doctors at the Good Samaritan General Hospital in the city.

Reports said Causon was cruising along the village of Aguas Norte around 8:30 am when another motorcycle rider slipped to his side before firing several shots with an automatic pistol.

Causon sustained three bullet wounds in the back as his motorcycle crashed, radio station dzMM reported citing information from a local police officer, PO2 Fernando Cacayurin.

Jaime “Nonoy” Espina, director of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said the Causon killing occurred despite an order by President Benigno Aquino III for authorities to go down hard on extrajudicial killings that counts several journalists and media workers as victims.

“If Causon’s killing is related to his work as a mediaman, it would be the 14th that took place under the administration of President Aquino and the fifth to take place this year involving members of the press,” he said.

Reports said Causon had been receiving death threats.

For its part, the presidential palace condemned the killing of Causon as it said that steps are being taken to address the murder of journalists. “The government is trying to address this issue,” he said.

Causon, who lives in the town of Talavera in Nueva Ecija, had been working for dzJJ, a radio station owned by Cabanatuan City mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, for 11 years.

Immediately after the killing, Supt. Edgardo Ladao, regional police director, formed a group to investigate the killing and apprehend suspects.

Vergara for his part, called on people to desist from making speculations concerning the killing.

Prior to his killing, Causon has been issuing strong statements on his programme concerning Cabanatuan City’s moves to become a Highly Urbanized City (HUC). Governor Aurelio Umali had been resisting Cabanatuan City’s aspirations to become an HUC as it will lead to the loss of revenues for the provincial government.

Cabanatuan City is scheduled to hold a vote on December 1 whether they want their city to become an HUC or not. A gun ban had been enforced in the city from November 5 to December 11.

Cabanatuan City is located some 100 kilometres from the Philippine capital. The city had been a hotbed of political violence during the mid 1980s through the early 1990s.