Ex-Davao Sur gov being tried for journalist’s murder rushed to hospital
DIGOS CITY, Philippines – The former governor of Davao del Sur, who has been accused of masterminding the 2010 murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido, was rushed to a hospital here on Wednesday after allegedly complaining of dizziness and chest pains.
Chief Inspector Peter Bongngat, district jail warden of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology here, said Thursday that former Davao del Sur governor Douglas Cagas was brought to the Medical Center of Digos Coop. (MCDC) hospital in Barangay (village) Tres de Mayo here, where he was examined by cardiologist Vicente Balazo.
Balazo was the same cardiologist, who recommended the hospitalization of another Bedolido suspect, Matanao, Davao del Sur Mayor Vicente Fernandez on October 20, when Judge Carmelita Davin issued the warrant for the arrest of all suspects in the journalist’s murder.
Cagas, as of Thursday, remained at the MCDC, while Fernandez remained under hospital arrest at the Digos Doctor’s Hospital, Bongngat said Thursday.
Bongngat told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by text that Balazo had reported that Cagas was “hypertensive with cardiovascular disease” and suffering from “gastro easophageal replux” (acid reflux disease).
Jeffrey Tupas, secretary general of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines – Davao chapter, said he doubted if Cagas’ illness needed hospitalization.
Lawyer Cesar Europa, counsel for the Bedolido family, said it was possible that Cagas’ case was indeed a medical emergency requiring hospitalization and that a local judge might have allowed the BJMP to bring him there.
“We do not see any reason to oppose if it was in order. It is also the right of any accused to seek emergency medical treatment. But if it was a manipulation to afford him special treatment, then we will certainly question it,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Cagas has been spending time at the infirmary of the district jail here after yielding last month.
He was ordered arrested after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima approved the refiling of the murder case – which government prosecutors had earlier dismissed – against him, Fernandez and two other suspects for the killing of Bedolido in June 2010.
Self-confessed gunman Voltaire Mirafuentes implicated Cagas as the brains in the murder of the 56-year-old journalist, and Fernandez as the planner of the murder plot.
Mirafuentes also implicated alleged Cagas henchmen, Bado Sanchez and Ali Ordaneza, in the killing.
Sanchez and Ordaneza remain at large.
The trial of the Bedolido murder case hit a snag when Judge Carmelita Davin, who issued the warrant for the arrest of Cagas and the three other suspects, inhibited.
The second judge, Magnolia Velez – who got the case last week – also inhibited due to her relation by affinity with Cagas’ wife and Davao del Sur Representative Mercedes Cagas.
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