On the morning of November 5, 2023, an assailant entered Jumalon’s home-based radio station pretending to be a listener and shot him twice during his live broadcast on Facebook in the city of Calamba, in the southern island of Mindanao, according to multiple news reports. The attacker stole Jumalon’s gold necklace before escaping on a motorcycle driven by a waiting accomplice, those sources said.
Jumalon’s livestream on 94.7 Gold Mega Calamba FM, a local Visayan-language station, was removed from Facebook but video clips circulating online showed Jumalon pausing and looking away from the camera before two apparent gunshots were heard, the international news channel CNN reported. The journalist was declared dead on arrival at Calamba District Hospital, news reports said.
Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker, hosted a regular call-in program on 94.7 Gold Mega Calamba FM, which covered everything from neighborhood issues to relationships, news reports said.
Captain Diore Libre Ragonio, the officer-in-charge at Calamba Municipal Police Station, told a news conference on the day of the attack that authorities had identified at least three suspects and were investigating motives related to the journalist’s work, as well as personal matters.
On November 15, authorities filed murder and theft charges against three suspects, one of whom investigators had identified but did not name publicly, according to local news reports. The provincial government for Misamis Occidental and Jumalon’s family offered over 3 million pesos ($53,511) in rewards for the suspects’ capture, the news website Rappler reported.
Jerrebel Jumalon, the journalist’s widow, told GMA Regional TV One Mindanao that her husband’s killing was more likely motivated by a land dispute that was in court or by business related to his radio station than by his journalism, which she characterized as “greetings” and “public service” rather than commentary. Rappler also said that Jumalon was known more as an entertainer than as a news or political commentator.
In a statement, Paul Gutierrez, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, a state agency that includes the police and was set up in 2016 to resolve cases of violence against media workers, described the incident as a “dastardly attack.” He called for the police to immediately activate a special investigation task group to identify and arrest the suspects.
As of late 2023, CPJ’s emails to the task force seeking comment on Jumalon’s killing did not receive any reply.