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Former journalist, brod gunned down

By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD & CHINO S. LEYCO

The Eastern Police District (EPD) formed yesterday a task force that will look into the gunslaying of former journalist Michael D. Marasigan, 60; and his brother Christopher, 50, in San Juan City, Thursday night.

EPD Director Police Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, said the creation of the Special Investigation Task Group “Marasigan” will help speed up the probe on the killing of Marasigan brothers, both residents of No. 48 F. Valentin St., Barangay Onse, San Juan City.

The police launched the probe as Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III called on law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute to the “fullest extent of the law” the perpetrators behind the killing of Marasigan, who served as his communications consultant.

“I am both saddened and shocked,” Dominguez said in statement. “My deepest condolences go to the family of Mike and that of his brother, Christopher.”

“I have known Mike for over 30 years,” he said. “I and his peers held him in very high regard for his skills and thorough professionalism.”

“Mike, who always had a kind word to everyone he meets, was a highly respected journalist and public relations man,” Dominguez said.

As his communications consultant, Dominguez said Marasigan was always prompt, thorough and very good at what he did, which was to assist the Department of Finance (DoF) in relaying its key messages and programs to the public.

Sapitula said the motive behind the killing remained unknown as of yesterday, but they were not discounting the possibility that it could either be personal or work-related.

“So far, wala pa kaming nakikitang motibo. Titignan namin kung ito ay work related or personal,” Sapitula said.

He added that the two gunmen on board a motorcycle specifically targeted Michael based on the volume of bullets that hit him.

“Pero sa volume of fire, talagang siya ang target. Sa kanya mismo ang direction ng bala. Pwedeng nagkataon na tinamaan lamang ang kanyang kapatid or dinamay na din,” Sapitula said.

Sapitula said at least six bullets hit Michael – two in the neck and six in the chest. He added that they will check on closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) near the crime scene.

The EPD chief said that they have yet to find out if Michael had received death threats as his family has not provided them with more information.

Sapitula said a witness told San Juan police investigators that he saw the suspects peppered Michael with bullets while seated at the front passenger side of the vehicle.

The witness said the suspects were wearing helmets and sunglasses.

“There was no facial description dahil limited ang nakita niya sa mukha ng suspect,” he added.

Police report said the incident happened on Barcelona St., corner V. Cruz St., Brgy. Sta. Lucia, San Juan City, at 6:10 p.m. Thursday.

The victims were on board a Gray Mazda CX-5 car (WOU-583) traversing V. Cruz St. when motorcycle-riding men on board a black Yamaha Mio without plate number suddenly came from behind and fired shots at them.

A witness said the back-rider alighted from the motorcycle and repeatedly shot Michael, killing him on site.

Police said Christopher was brought by the San Juan Rescue Team to the San Juan Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival.

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) led by Police Senior Inspector Lampitoc recovered 34 spent shells.

Marasigan was a former editor of Businessday and chief editor of BusinessWorld Online.

He was also an independent producer for the Living Asia channel and the creator of ourphilippines.tv.

Meanwhile, the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) condemned the “senseless killing” of Marasigan.

“Their violent murders aren’t just signs of the times but an indictment of the security situation in the country,” EJAP said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

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