Apolinario “Polly” Pobeda

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

At about 6:00 a.m., two unidentified gunmen stopped radio host Pobeda as he rode his motorcycle to work in Lucena City, Quezon Province, and shot him repeatedly, according to Philippine press reports. Pobeda suffered seven gunshot wounds, including one to his head. He was brought to a hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

On Pobeda’s radio program “Nosi Balasi” (Who Are They?), which he co-hosted on DWTI-AM, the journalist often criticized corrupt local officials. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Pobeda was particularly outspoken against Lucena City Mayor Ramon Talaga, whom the journalist had accused of being involved in the local drug trade.

Pobeda had received repeated anonymous death threats, including one about a month before his murder, according to his wife, Rowena Morales.

On May 22, police arrested brothers Eric and Eulogio Patulay as suspects in the murder. An eyewitness to the crime had identified them as the triggermen, according to local police. Press reports said the Patulay brothers were bodyguards of Romano Talaga, Ramon Talaga’s son, although Romano Talaga claimed they had just acted as his “guides” when he traveled. Both the Patulays and Ramon Talaga denied any involvement in Pobeda’s murder. A third suspect remains at large.

Pobeda’s colleagues and family members say he was murdered for his work. “My husband was killed because he exposed the wrongdoing of the government,” Rowena Morales told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a Manila-based press freedom organization.