Police bare suspects’ sketches of slain journalist

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013


SPECIAL Task Group Dignos has been created to fast track the investigation on the killing of a journalist in Bukidnon province.

Police Superintendent Roy Aque Magsalay, Valencia City police chief, received orders from his superiors to hasten the investigation of the murder of Joash Dignos, a block timer of dxGT Radyo Abante in Maramag town in Bukidnon following Malacañang’s promise to give justice to Dignos.

The police bared on Monday two sketches of the four suspects who shot Dignos at Sayre Highway in Valencia City Friday night. Witnesses said the suspects didn’t wear any covering in the face.

The police found 12 empty shells of .45 caliber pistols used by the gunmen. Dignos had 22 gunshot wounds on his body. They also found a .22 caliber pistol inside the pocket of Dignos’ shorts.

Magsalay said the gunmen could have been hired to kill Dignos.

When asked of the motives of the killing, Magsalay said the task group is looking at all possible angles including politics.

Dignos had been known a critic of Valencia City Mayor Jose Galario Jr.

Magsalay said the National Bureau of Investigation is helping solve the case of Dignos.

Likely work-related

JB Deveza, coordinator of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Mindanao Safety Office, said Dignos’ death is likely work-related.

On June 26 this year, two men riding a motorcycle lobbed a grenade at dxGT while the station played a recording of Dignos’ commentary on that day. A working student was wounded.

“This time, Dignos had been attacked by four gunmen. Wala gi-alang alang. It was well-planned,” Deveza said.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, Galario denied any involvement on the killing of Dignos.

“Press freedom is not absolute. I believe in press freedom, but there should be a limit and personal attacks should not be part of it,” Galario said.

When asked on how he viewed the way Dignos tackled issues on air, Galario said Dignos went overboard. “Sobra na ang iyang mga komentaryo, personal ra kaayo (The commentaries were too much, they were too personal). I had been used to his tirades for about eight years. If I wanted him killed, I would have done that long time ago. We had been civil. I never listened to his program. But people did tell me. I never wasted my time listening to him. I’d rather take care of my health and get well,” Galario told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro in an interview with him in his residence in Valencia City Monday.

Galario welcomes any investigation to clear his name.

Condemn

Cagayan de Oro Press Club president Monsignor Elmer Abacahin condemns the killing of Dignos.

Abacahin said in front of the local media during his personal visit Monday at the wake of Dignos that the manner of killing was inhuman.

"He may have his shortcoming, but he does not deserve to die like the other slain journalists in the Ampatuan massacre that until now the prosecution is slow-paced,” Abacahin said.

Abacahin furthered that in a democratic country like the Philippines, everybody should follow the rule of law.

The killing of Dignos is a threat itself to the media, Abacahin added.

He also urged the authorities to speed up the investigation so justice will be served to Dignos and to the rest of the slain journalists in the country.

Threatened

A print reporter who requested anonymity said the death of Dignos is likely work-related and it has brought fears among the media there and curtailed the press freedom.

The reporter said that in November, there were already four victims of killings by men riding in motorcycles.

For Aries Collado, some supporters and the media there, Dignos had been considered as a local hero in Valencia.

Collado, also a close friend of Dignos, said the victim was the only one who bravely exposed and challenged Galario.

“He (Dignos) was aware that he could go anytime with the kind of work he was doing,” Collado added.

Meanwhile Vivian Pepito, a durian vendor, could not believe that Galario is capable to kill.

But, Pepito said Galario is known to be disciplinarian, but not on killing people. (With reports from Nicole Managbanag and Joey P. Nacalaban)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 03, 2013.

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