At about 6 a.m. on May 30, three unidentified men ambushed Cayona, a radio commentator for the local station DXLL, as he left home on his motorcycle to host a morning broadcast. Cayona died on the spot from four gunshot wounds, including two to the face. The assailants, all identified as young males, fled the scene.
Cayona was an outspoken commentator who often criticized local politicians, the military, and Muslim separatist guerrillas. The journalist had recently received several death threats, including an on-air threat that was phoned in by Abu Sabaya, spokesman for the Islamic guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf. Although Cayona reported the threats to station officials, he was not escorted by a bodyguard on the morning of the attack.
Cayona is the second DXLL staffer to be murdered in recent years. In 1998, Rey Bancayrin, another outspoken commentator for the station, was actually killed on the air when two unidentified gunmen burst into the studio and shot him dead.