Quezon City – November 6, 2023
In a shocking and tragic incident, radio anchor Juan Jumalon, famously known as DJ Johnny Walker, was fatally shot while live-streaming his Sunday morning broadcast for a Philippine radio station. The harrowing event unfolded as viewers tuned in to watch the program live on Facebook, leaving the nation in disbelief.
Jumalon, a 57-year-old anchor for 94.7 Calamba Gold FM, was shot twice while on the air, broadcasting from his home studio in the southern province of Misamis Occidental, according to the local police. The assailant, in a chilling sequence captured on video, not only shot Jumalon but also stole a gold necklace from him before fleeing the scene. The video footage shows Jumalon sinking back in his chair as two gunshots ring out, accompanied by music playing in the background. Unfortunately, the attacker’s face remains concealed in the video.
The shocking incident occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, as per the Facebook post by Misamis Occidental police. Authorities have since appealed to the public for assistance in their ongoing investigation, as they continue to search for the assailant.
On the following morning, the police released a sketch of the suspect, describing the individual as over 40 years of age, seen wearing a red cap, a green shirt, and black shorts. The attacker is reported to have fled the scene on a motorcycle, driven by an accomplice waiting outside the victim’s residence, as reported by the Associated Press.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. swiftly condemned the heinous act in a statement issued on Sunday. He expressed his directive to the national police to launch a thorough investigation into the matter. Marcos asserted, “Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions.” The statement was posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Regrettably, this marks the fourth instance of a journalist’s murder since “Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” the son of the late dictator “Ferdinand E. Marcos,” assumed office in June 2022, as reported by the “National Union of Journalists of the Philippines,” an organization that closely monitors attacks against Filipino journalists. The organization strongly condemned Jumalon’s tragic death, characterizing it as a “brazen killing” in a statement posted on X.
The Philippines has long grappled with a disturbing history of violence against journalists. Just last year, radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, who was outspoken about corruption in the country, was fatally shot while driving in Manila. His untimely demise drew international attention, and press advocates called for accountability in his case. Subsequently, Philippine law enforcement filed charges against multiple individuals, including a corrections bureau official, as reported by Human Rights Watch.
Data from the Committee to Protect Journalists reveals that between 1992 and 2023, 158 journalists and media workers have been killed in the Philippines. The organization ranked the Philippines as the eighth-worst country for prosecuting individuals accused of targeting journalists in its 2023 Global Impunity Index.
On Sunday evening in Quezon City, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, along with other concerned groups, gathered to light candles in honor of Jumalon and other journalists who lost their lives. The event’s online poster succinctly captured the collective sentiment: “Justice for Juan Jumalon! Stop killing journalists! End impunity!”