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Bislig mayor twits presidential task force: Where’s fairness and objectivity?

By Ben Serrano

Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro said the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) probing the killing of broadcaster Christopher Lozada was allegedly biased against him.

“I was not even consulted by PTFoMS implicating me, neither informed me about the death threats received by Lozada, ” Navarro told reporters at a hastily arranged press briefing in Butuan City on Friday.

“With all due respect, I did not receive any call from Egco and why he came up with a conclusion that if anything happens to Lozada, he will include me as possible perpetrator? What is his basis? Because Lozada told him so? Where is fairness and objectivity?” Navarro added.

Navarro said he only learned the supposed “red flag” warning from PTFOMS through social media and has not officially received the hard copy of the letter.

Lozada , anchorman and manager of PBN 101.7 FM in Bislig, and his girlfriend, Honey Faith Indog, were on board a gray color Toyota Vios on their way home when armed men aboard van pulled over and shot them in Barangay Coleto, Bislig City at around 9 p.m. October 25.

Lozada, hosted a public affairs program “Kuskos-Batikos,” where he dished out scathing commentaries against the mayor. He also filed graft charges in the Ombudsman against the official.

In a statement, the PTFoMS said that prior to Lozada’s killing, the office had sent a “red flag” warning to Mayor Navarro after Lozada filed a complaint where he claimed that the mayor had been threatening him.

Joel Egco, PTFoMs head, said the letter was sent to Navarro on Oct. 24, or barely a day before the broadcaster was shot dead.

“But Lozada was killed even before the letter could reach the mayor,” he said.

According to Egco, Lozada claimed that the mayor sent him text messages, warning him “to leave Bislig if you do not want to die.”

Egco said he had warned Navarro that “in case any untoward incident happens to (Lozada), we will include you (the mayor) as possible perpetrator of the same.”

But Navarro denied any involvement in the killing, lamenting some people might just be out to destroy him by dragging his name to Lozada’s murder.

“I am innocent and my conscience is clear. I am open to any investigation,” Navarro said,

The mayor said he would seek guidance from media organizations like the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) if Lozada belonged to media considering the late radioman acted as mouthpiece and served as bark dog of his political opponents attacking him below the belt on air over the latter’s paid radio programs in 2013 elections.

“So I filed three libel cases against him now still pending in courts due unfounded attacks on me daily during May 2013 elections in his radio program,” Navarro said.

The prosecutor handling said libel cases found probable cause and Lozada was indicted in court.

After arrest warrants were out in 2014 , Lozada left Bislig unnoticed, nowhere to be found, thus evading arrest, Navarro said.

A year after, Navarro claimed Lozada return to Bislig and admitted to him that his attacks on radio were all politically motivated allegedly through the instigation of his political rivals.

“He confided to me that he wanted to have a radio program dubbed Dok Alternatibo for health benefits of residents of Bislig, impressed that he was no longer actively participating in partisan politics in 2016 elections. I issued him Mayor’s permit to operate,” Navarro added.

Navarro also revealed he received allegations and several complaints against Lozada from residents especially those who participated in Lozada’s Dok Alternatibo business.

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