Davao City – Although they welcomed the surrender of a former governor tagged in the killing of a local radio broadcaster, the National Union of Journalist in the Philippines Davao urged the public and the media to be “vigilant and cautious for a possible whitewash.”
The NUJP Davao released a statement today following the surrender of former Davao del Sur governor Douglas Cagas who was charged with murder for ordering the killing of broadcaster, Nestor Bedolido, Sr.
“This is a positive development in the quest for justice for our fellow journalist, Bedolido,” Jessie Casalda, NUJP Davao chairperson, said.
However, Cagas’ maintained that he “is innocent”.
Though Cagas’ surrender does not mean guilt on his part, we should keep an eye on the case to ensure that justice would be served for our slain colleague and the guilty should be punished,” Casalda said.
Bedolido, 50, worked as a consultant for the weekly Kastigador. He was shot dead along Quezon corner Rizal Avenue, Digos City on June 19, 2010 by one of two motorcycle-riding men.
Bedolido bore six gunshot wounds.
After a few months, gunman Voltaire Mirafuentes surrendered to authorities and testified that the killing was ordered by Cagas and Matanao Mayor Vicente Fernandez.
Last August 26, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima signed a 16-page resolution to order the filing of murder charges against Cagas, Fernandez, Ali Ordaneza and Bado Sanchez. Ordaneza and Sanchez were also involved in the planning.
NUJP Davao also expressed their worry that Bedolido’s case would end up like the other cases of media killings in the country.
“We took note that even there are few convictions in relation to media killings but none of the masterminds had been put behind bars,” NUJP said.
“More than 20 journalists have been killed under the Aquino administration. And still justice have not been served for them,” the group said.
The group also cited the case of Tagum City broadcaster Rogelio “Tata” Butalid who was killed December last year.
Local police officials have already presented the cartographic sketch of the perpetrator earlier this month, “yet, up to now, no arrest has been made,” the NUJP added.(davaotoday.com)