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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 01, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 28Nov00

By Kent Larsen

LDS Journalist In Philippines Murdered In Political Hit

PAGADIAN CITY, PHILIPPINES -- A local radio journalist, called the leading media personality in Pagadian City, was murdered November 17th in a hit apparently meant to silence his on-air criticisms. Olympio Jun Jalapit, Jr., who was apparently an LDS Church member, was shot in the head as he left a Parents-Teachers Community Association meeting, where he served as president of the board. The still-unsolved murder has led to cries of protest from local journalists.

Jalapit, a broadcaster for the past six years, was the anchor of the top-rated morning program "Lampornas," which aired on the Radio Mindanao Network's (RMN) dxPR-Radyo Agong from 5:45 am to 8:00 am Monday through Saturday. But Jalapit's criticisms of Philippines environment secretary Antonio Cerilles and his wife Aurora Cerilles, both of whom hold seats in the Philippine congress, led to his being taken off his morning show for the period from November 13 to 20th, after the Cerilles' talked with Butch Canoy, owner of RMN. Jalapit was on his way to meet with the Cerilles, evidently to get them to withdraw their complaints so he could get back on the air.

The role of the Cerilles in getting Jalapit off the air leads Jalapit's family to suspect that the Cerilles are behind his murder. But because of the hard-hitting nature of Jalapit's journalism, there is no shortage of suspects with motive. Jalapit was a vocal critic of many members of the Philippines' ruling party, including Philippines president Joseph Estrada Exercito, who is currently facing unrelated impeachment charges in congress. But Jalapit also criticized the opposition Lakas-NUCD party, and his family suspects that someone in that party may have been behind his murder.

But Jalapit also earned the ire of a number of police and military officials, drug syndicates and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Since his murder, police have learned that the suspected hit man is a former Army soldier with ties to an illegal drug syndicate. According to Jalapit's wife, Gina, he has received death threats in the past, either through text messages on his cell phone or through phones at his office. Police say he received a death threat at 9 am on the day on his murder, less than two and one-half hours before he was murdered.

Journalists throughout the Philippines have cried out in protest over the murder. "We condemn his killing. It was a gruesome and barbaric killing that should not be condoned," said Alejandro Gesta, manager of dxPR, where Jalapit worked, and regional coordinator of a society of broadcasters in the Western Mindanao area of the Philippines. Pagadian City Vice Mayor Flaviano Fucoy also condemned the murder, and urged media to continue to report, "I was really outraged by this incident. But this should not stop [local media] from pursuing the truth."

Meanwhile, some journalists are pointing out that this is not the only murder of a journalist in the Philippines in an attempt to shut him up. Journalist-human rights lawyer Ferdie Reyes was killed in February 1996, in a murder that is still not solved. Earlier this year, another journalist was murdered in the Mindanao area, but it was later determined that the murder did not involve his profession.

Meanwhile, as news of Jalapit's murder has hit LDS Internet sites, church member Yuko Takei has sent out an appeal asking church members to write to Philippines president Joseph Estrada Ejercito or to the Philippines defense minister, former LDS Church member Orlando Mercado, urging them to see that justice be done in the Jalapit case. Takei says that members can reach Estrada Ejercito at or Mercado at .

Jalpit was buried November 25th, following a funeral at an LDS chapel attended by close to 2,000 people. At the funeral, his mother, Consuelo, said that Jalapit was not a violent person, but was "a very loving son." According to reports in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jalapit was the fourth of her eight children. He was married and has four children.


Slain Zamboanga radioman buried
Philippine Daily Inquirer 26Nov00 D2
By Hernan P. dela Cruz: Inquirer News Service, PDI Mindanao Bureau

Ex-Army soldier tagged Zambo radioman's murder
Phillipine Daily Inquirer 22Nov00 D2
By Hernan P. dela Cruz: Inquirer News Service, PDI Mindanao Bureau

Hard-hitting Pagadian broadcaster shot dead
Philippine Daily Inquirer 18Nov00 D2
By Hernan P. dela Cruz: Inquirer News Service, PDI Mindanao Bureau

Mindanao media outraged by radioman's slay
Philippine Daily Inquirer 19Nov00 D2
By Hernan P. dela Cruz: Inquirer News Service, PDI Mindanao Bureau

Write your senator; write for peace - OPINION
Phillipine Daily Inquirer 20Nov00 D2


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