Another journalist slain, third in a week

Source: CMFR

A Mindanao-based publisher and editorial consultant was gunned down a few meters from his karaoke shop on 19 June 2010. It was the third killing in a week following the death of Desidario “Jessie” Camangyan on June 14 and Jovelito Agustin on June 16.

Nestor Bedolido, editorial consultant of the weekly “Kastigador” (“Castigator”) and publisher of the “Mt. Apo Current”, was buying cigarettes from a street vendor in Digos City, Davao del Sur when the killing happened. Bedolido had just come from his karaoke shop which was a few meters from the crime scene. He sustained six gunshot wounds. The gunman or gunmen escaped on a motorcycle. Digos City is approximately 995 kilometers south of Manila.

Rick Torrecampo of “Kastigador” said in an interview with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that the reports they gathered showed that there were four unidentified men waiting for Bedolido. Two fired at Bedolido, while the other two were manning the motorcycles. But police were quoted in reports as saying there was only one gunman and a driver.

Orlando Dinoy, a correspondent of the “Philippine Daily Inquirer”, said police have recovered Bedolido’s mobile phone and are looking into possible leads.

The Philippine National Police in Davao del Sur said Bedolido was not a practicing journalist. In a phone interview, the chief of PNP Davao del Sur said their investigation showed that Bedolido was “a propagandist” and was previously working for the provincial government’s newsletter.

Senior Superintendent Ronald Dela Rosa was also quoted in the “Inquirer” as saying that “If we count him as a journalist, then he should be active in writing for an independent media outlet.” “Kastigador” is a weekly newspaper established in December 2009, while the “Mt. Apo Current” is a magazine allegedly funded by a local politician.

However, media people in Davao del Sur consider Bedolido a media practitioner. Torrecampo said Bedolido might have been killed because of his critical exposés against a local politician in Davao del Sur. Bedolido was “a propagandist” for some local candidates during the May 2010 elections, he added.

Torrecampo also said Bedolido previously worked for the provincial magazine of Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas before he transferred to the opposing camp’s magazine, “Mt. Apo Current”.

Bedolido’s son, Marxlen, told the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” that his father’s killing was “politically-motivated.” He also told the “Inquirer” that his father worked for gubernatorial candidate Claude Bautista as a writer during the elections.

In the Philippines, some media practitioners have been known to work for newspapers and block time programs funded by local politicians and businesses. Some politicians are also known to employ broadcasters to host “political programs.”

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CMFR (
http://cmfr.com.ph/) is a SEAPA founding member based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical journalism and to protect press freedom.