Mindoro radio commentator’s alleged gunman surrenders

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

June 28, 2023, 2:10 pm

MANILA – The alleged gunman in the May 31 killing of Oriental Mindoro radio commentator Cresenciano “Cris” Bundoquin has surrendered to the authorities and tagged the province’s biggest carnival financier, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) confirmed Wednesday.

The alleged suspect identified as Isabelo Bautista turned himself in before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila on Tuesday, PTFoMs executive director Paul Gutierrez said in a statement.

Citing the testimony of the radio commentator’s alleged killer, Gutierrez said Bautista is claiming that he is “not the gunman who shot Bundoquin several times at close range.”

“Bautista also vowed to fully cooperate with the NBI in finding out the truth about the incident,” Gutierrez said.

“The arduous road towards uncovering the truth and giving justice to Bundoquin just hurdled a major obstacle with the voluntary appearance before the NBI of Isabelo Lopez Bautista,” he added.

Bundoquin, a radio block timer at dwXR 101.7 Kalahi News FM, was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding armed men in front of his family-rented store at the Sta. Isabel village in Calapan City around 4:20 a.m. on May 31.

Two witnesses had identified Bautista as the gunman while his alleged cohort, identified as Narciso Ignacio Guntan, died after their motorcycle crashed when it hit a metal road barrier during their escape.

Gutierrez said Bautista had confirmed that he and Guntan are “employees” of a certain “Felix Solis,” the alleged biggest carnival financier and operator in Mindoro province.

“The evolving motive for the killing of Bundoquin was the rampant proliferation of illegal gambling in the province with local carnivals (peryahan) as front, as well as local politics. Both were severely criticized by the victim at his radio programs,” he said.

Gutierrez said he met with Bautista and lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to ensure the alleged suspect’s rights were observed and respected.

He noted that no formal case was filed against Bautista, as the Calapan City Prosecutor’s Office is yet to file any information against the accused before the court despite receiving the police’s complaint for murder and frustrated murder against Bautista last June 9, 2023.

“So, technically and legally, we cannot say that Bautista ‘surrendered’ as he is not a wanted person in the absence of any warrant of arrest,” Gutierrez said.

“Nevertheless, we are glad that Bautista decided to turn himself in as his statements later on would help investigators in establishing all the facts and the truth surrounding the killing of Bundoquin and expedite our quest for justice for Bundoquin,” he added.

Gutierrez expressed optimism that Bundoquin’s case would be resolved soon, adding that Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor vowed to cooperate after Bautista surfaced at the NBI.

In his meeting with Dolor on Tuesday, Gutierrez said the PTFoMS was assured of the local official’s full cooperation as he considers Bundoquin his “friend”.

Gutierrez said the latest development signifies that the justice system is working in the country.

“This twin development is an assurance to the international community that the Philippine government is deeply committed to protecting and upholding the life, liberty and security of all members of the press by providing them with a safe environment for the free and full exercise of their profession,” he said. (PNA)