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Gunman in 2001 slay of Aklan radioman gets 14-year jail term

/ 09:22 PM February 09, 2014

NATIONAL Union of Journalists of the Philippines chair Rowena Paraan lights a candle at the site in Maguindanao where at least 32 journalists were massacred four years ago.

ILOILO CITY—Emely Ureta and her 16-year-old son, Kint, on Saturday visited the grave of her husband, Rolando, in Banga town in Aklan province.

“Let’s now leave it to God. We have been given justice,” she said in front of his grave.

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On Feb. 4, the Cebu Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 found Amador Raz guilty of homicide for the killing of Rolando on Jan. 3, 2001. He was meted out a jail term of eight to 14 years.

Judge Sylva Aguirre-Paderanga of the RTC Branch 16 downgraded the penalty from murder to homicide  because the prosecution failed to prove treachery and premeditation, two elements of murder.

Rolando, program director of radio station dyKR of Radio Mindanao Network and host of the nightly program “Agong Nightwatch,” was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding men along the national highway in Barangay (village) Bagtu, Lezo town, Aklan, around 7 kilometers west of Kalibo town. He was on his way to his parents’ house.

The broadcaster was investigating the proliferation of illegal gambling and drugs in the province when he was killed.

The alleged gunman, Jessie Ticar, surrendered in 2007 but died the next year at the Aklan provincial hospital while being treated for a disease.

Denial

Ticar and Raz had insisted on their innocence and denied involvement in the killing.

Emely said prosecutors had consulted her if she would appeal the ruling in the belief that there was sufficient evidence to convict Raz of murder.

“But I am tired and it might take many more years for this to be resolved. That is enough already,” she said.

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She thanked the prosecutors who worked on her husband’s case and media organizations that supported her family in seeking justice for her husband.

The Supreme Court in 2008 ordered the transfer of the trials of the murder of Rolando and another Aklan broadcaster, Herson Hinolan, to  Cebu upon the request of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Philippine News, Philippine Press Institute and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Transfer

The media groups sought the transfer of the trials for fear of the safety of the families of the victims and to prevent the accused from exerting any influence on the investigation and prosecution of the cases.

The London-based International News Safety Institute  has tagged the Philippines the second most murderous country for journalists in 2013 along with India and next only to Syria.

It recorded 19 journalists killed in Syria and 13 each in the Philippines and India.

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TAGS: Center for Community Journalism and Development, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Media killings, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, News, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Philippine News, Philippine Press Institute, Regions, Rolando ureta
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