DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A day before Pres. Rodrigo Duterte relinquished his power as a president, another journalist was gunned down in broad daylight.
Radio announcer Federico “Deng” Gempesaw, 62, reportedly alighted from the taxi upon arriving home in Sitio Macangan, Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City when an unidentified assailant approached and shot him in the head using a .45 caliber pistol.
Wounded, Gempesaw tried to seize the gunman’s firearm but he was shot again causing his immediate death at around 10 AM on Wednesday, June 29.
He is the third radio broadcaster killed in Mindanao this year, and the last under the Duterte administration.
Maj. Mario Mantala, chief of the COCPO Station 4, said in an interview that Gempesaw sustained two gunshot wounds in the head. “We are still conducting deeper investigation to identify the gunmen. It is possible that they are gun-for-hire,” he said in vernacular.
The assailant was wearing a brown shirt, a black cap, and a face mask. He escaped the crime scene on a motorcycle driven by another suspect. They headed to Zone 7 in Barangay Carmen.
The police are now conducting a “hot pursuit and backtracking” operations.
“The brutal murder of Gempesaw has no place in a democratic society, and we demand that the police leaves no stone unturned and bring the perpetrators as well as the mastermind be brought to justice”, said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-CDO chapter in a statement.
The group condemned the killing and said that “broad daylight murder brings chilling effect to the journalism community, and press freedom already under attack from both the Government and private sector”.
In January 12, radio commentator Jaynard Angeles was shot dead in Barangay Carmen, Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat by unidentified suspects while community journalist Jhannah Villegas was killed last April 24 in the town of Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao province.
Since Duterte rose to power in 2016, 24 media practitioners have been killed, 11 of whom are in Mindanao.
The Cagayan de Oro Press Club, Inc. (CPOP) condemned the killing of Gempesaw. In a statement, they called on the police to conduct a thorough investigation and to identify the mastermind.
“The Cagayan de Oro Press is also urging the National Bureau of Investigation to help (on this case). We believe that if this will not be solved, crimes like this will follow and we will lose another member from our ranks,” said Frank G. Mendez, CPOC president, in vernacular.
Gempesaw has been a block time commentator since 2019. He recently became a regular radio anchor of the morning program Bitayan sa Kahanginan of Radyo Natin FM-CDO after the 2022 national elections. He used to head the City Economic Enterprises Department under former mayor Vicente Emano. (davaotoday.com)