(Update) Unidentified armed men shot dead a radio reporter in Mati City, Davao Oriental, Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Senior Supt. Perpetuo Macion, Davao Oriental Provincial Police director, identified the victim as Nestor Sapidan Libaton, a reporter and blocktimer at the Catholic Church-owned DXHM AM and Spirit FM.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m., while Libaton and fellow reporter Eldon Cruz were riding a motorcycle along the National Highway in Sitio Panumbon, Brgy. Don Enrique Lopez, from Tarragona.

Three men on another motorcycle reportedly overtook Cruz’s motorcycle then shot Libaton, his backrider.

“Nakasunod allegedly ‘yung gunman, nag-overtake, then binaril siya (Libaton),” Macion said, citing initial investigation results.

Libaton died on the spot because of bullet wounds while assailants were seen fleeing towards Tarragona.

Policemen found at the scene five empty shells of a caliber-.38 handgun, an empty shell of a caliber-.45 pistol, and a misfired caliber-.38 ammunition.

Probers have yet to determine if the killing was related to Libaton’s work as a media practitioner.

“We are trying to determine if the killing was work-related, or stemmed from family problem and ownership of land,” Macion said.

“From what other media practitioners here have told me so far, his (Libaton) station, being managed by the Church, does not focus much on commentaries and has a spiritual theme,” the police official said.

Police have formed special investigation task group Libaton to follow up on the case. (John Roson)

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