Christopher Guarin

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Guarin, 41, a block-time radio broadcaster with Radyo Mo Nationwide and publisher of small local newspaper Tatak News, was shot and killed in the evening by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants while driving home with his wife, Lyn Guarin, and 9-year-old daughter in General Santos City on the southern island of Mindanao, according to local and international news reports.

The assailants first fired on Guarin's car at the city's Purok Sunrise and Naval Subdivision intersection, hitting him in the head and his wife in the arm.

According to local press reports quoting his wife, Guarin stopped and fled the vehicle on foot but was shot several times by two pursuing gunmen. "I could no longer count the number of shots made by the suspects," Guarin's wife told the Inquirer newspaper. "But I saw my husband lying on the ground helpless, pleading before the suspects not to kill him. His pleading fell on deaf ears."

The day after the murder, police investigator Gerald Mark Oliver Jubelag told local reporters that Guarin was hit six times by bullets fired from a .45 caliber handgun. Jubelag said the two assailants were unmasked and fled the scene of the crime on a white Honda XRM motorcycle. The Associated Press quoted Fred Solinap, Guarin's co-anchor in their program on herbal medicine, as saying that Guarin was puzzled by a text message he got during their radio broadcast on the day of his murder. The message, which Guarin read on air, warned him in the local dialect not to leave the station or he would be killed.

The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group issued a statement on February 1 saying that it had filed murder charges against suspected gunman Marvin Palabrica and launched a manhunt for him, according to news reports. A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) report on the murder released later in the year identified Palabrica's accomplice as Eddie Labajo.

The NBI report said Guarin's wife had positively identified both suspects from closed-circuit footage of a separate murder they had allegedly committed in July 2011.

The NBI report said that although a motive had not been established, authorities had inferred from the evidence that the murder was linked to Guarin's newspaper Tatak. The report said that Guarin's newspaper and radio programs also frequently endorsed products made by AG Global Pharma. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said that a rival company, selling similar products and promoting them over different local media, could have been behind the murder.

Guarin had lost a 2010 election bid for city councilor, and had been a combative radio announcer at another station before his electoral race, news reports said. NBI said in its report that it was considering enrolling Guarin's wife in a witness protection program after she expressed fears for her safety and neighbors in her community reported seeing unidentified persons spying on her house late at night.

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