Pangasinan newsman survives ambush

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VILLASIS, Pangasinan: A mediaman and radio commentator was seriously wounded after two unidentified armed men riding a motorcycle ambushed the tricycle he was riding on his way to work at dawn on Tuesday along the provincial road of Poblacion in this town.

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Senior Supt. Ronald Oliver-Lee, police provincial director, said Virgilio Sarmiento-Maganes, radio commentator of DWPR-AM Radio Station based in Dagupan City and columnist of the local newspaper Northern WATCH sustained a bullet wound on the left side of his body.

Virgilio Sarmiento-Maganes

Virgilio Sarmiento-Maganes

A tricycle driver saw the victim bloodied and crying for help along the road and took him to Don Marcelo Chan Memorial Hospital in Carmen West in Rosales town.

Chief Insp. Norman Florentino, Villasis chief of police, told The Manila Times that Maganes was on board a tricycle on his way to the town proper at about 5:30 a.m., when the suspects, wearing jackets and bonnets, drove by and fired several times aiming at the mediaman.

Police said three bullets hit the sidecar while only one bullet hit Maganes.

Maganes, 59, interviewed by The Manila Times at the hospital said he fell to the ground after a bullet hit him. Bloodied and dizzy, he slumped near the tricycle and played dead. One of the unidentified men threw something near him and fled. It turned out to be a cardboard with the note “Drug Pusher ako Huwag Tularan”.

He said politics and his job as a mediaman are the only motives he could find in the attempt on his life.

In his radio program and newspaper columns, Maganes has exposed issues on blacksand mining in the province and the proliferation of illegal drugs and gambling, particularly jueteng (an illegal numbers game) allegedly protected by some politicians and prominent personalities.

He was also the gubernatorial candidate of the National Unity Party during the May 9 synchronized elections.

He ran against incumbent Gov. Amado Espino 3rd and former 5th district Rep. Mark Cojuangco of the National Peoples Coalition party.

Maganes had told investigators that after the elections he received several death threats obviously coming from those involved in his exposés.

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