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Digos broadcaster shot dead

DIGOS CITY, Philippines— Unidentified men riding on a motorcycle shot dead another broadcaster here on Friday even as the authorities were still far from solving earlier killings of journalists in this city.

Samuel Oliverio, 57, host of the program “Bulgaran” on dxPM Supreme Radio, and co-host of “Isumbong kang Palos ug Tirador” on dxDX Radyo Ukay, died instantly from bullets fired to the head and nape, police said.

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Oliverio was the third journalist killed here since 2006, when broadcaster Armando Pace was shot dead. Former Digos Times Editor Nestor Bedolido was also gunned down in 2010.

Investigators said Oliverio, known among peers as Sammy, was driving his motorcycle with his wife, Rowena, when he was attacked by two gunmen near their home on Gregorio del Pilar Street. past 7 a.m.

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Rowena was not harmed by the assailants, described by some witnesses as “young,” but she suffered bruises when their motorcycle crashed on the pavement.

Rowena said she and her husband had come from the public market and were about 100 meters away from their house when they were attacked.

She said that after shooting her husband twice, one of the gunmen said, “Tana, diretso na (Let’s go).”

“I thought one of the tires of our motorcycle exploded because I heard a loud bang. It was after the second shot that I realized Sammy was shot,” Rowena told reporters.

She said the family could not think of a reason for the killing.

Daniel Gloria Jr., Oliverio’s co-anchor at Radyo Ukay, said the broadcaster was mild in his commentaries. But he noted that as a duo they tackled issues ranging from politics to illegal gambling and drugs.

Bert Zamora, Digos City information officer, said Oliverio might have angered some people in the past because of the issues he took up on his programs.

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Gloria noted that in recent weeks Oliverio had refrained from strong commentary as he was still recovering from a stroke.

Former broadcaster Ruben Oliverio, elder brother of the victim, said Sammy was known to be friendly even if he was critical of some people.

“He had no known enemies and he had not received any threat,” he said.

Mayor Joseph Peñas condemned Oliverio’s killing.

“I have ordered the police to make this case among their top priorities,” Peñas said.

Supt. Querubin Manalang, city police chief, said the police were doing their best to solve Oliverio’s death and called on witnesses to come forward to identify the killers.

Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, provincial police director, said the police were not remiss in their duty to help obtain justice for victims of violence, including journalists.

He cited the May 20 arrest of one of the two remaining suspects sought by authorities for the July 2010 killing of Bedolido.

Henry Mirafuentes was arrested by police authorities during a raid in Mintal, Davao City.

Chief Insp. Francis Sonza, head of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Eastern Mindanao, said Mirafuentes was the object of a warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Executive Judge Carmelita Sarno-Davin here in connection with the Bedolido killing.

Senior Supt. Joel Pernito, head of the CIDG in Eastern Mindanao, said Mirafuentes was implicated in the Bedolido case by his own brother, Voltaire Mirafuentes.

Voltaire, the elder of the two, surrendered to the authorities in October 2010 and admitted to be among the three killers of the journalist. He identified his companions as his brother, Henry, and Artemio Timosan Jr.

Bedolido, 50, who was a reporter for the weekly tabloid Kastigador, died from six bullet wounds outside his karaoke bar on Rizal Avenue here.

Bedolido’s death was later tied to “exposes” the paper had published during the 2010 elections.

Voltaire had accused then Governor Douglas Cagas, the subject of the exposes, and Mayor Butch Fernandez of Matanao, Davao del Sur, of ordering Bedolido’s killing.

Both Cagas and Fernandez repeatedly denied involvement in Bedolido’s death and accused their political opponents of dragging them into the case to destroy their political careers. Fernandez is a known Cagas ally.

Cagas also tried to downplay Bedolido’s death by saying he was never a journalist.

But a copy of the Digos Times, a weekly magazine that Cagas owned, showed Bedolido as among its staff, and later an editor.

Cagas and Fernandez were later cleared of the accusations against them but the Bedolido family filed a petition at the Court of Appeals.

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TAGS: broadcaster, Crime, Murder
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