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Suspect in killing of journalist surrenders

(CMFR/IFEX) - The alleged gunman in the killing of Davao del Sur publisher-editor Nestor Bedolido surrendered on 6 October 2010. Davao del Sur is a province approximately 995 kilometers south of Manila.

Voltaire "Boyet" Mirafuentes came to Manila together with his lawyers and surrendered to the Philippine National Police, and subsequently to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

In his sworn statement dated 6 October, Mirafuentes alleged that he was coerced by Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas and Matanao town mayor Butch Fernandez to kill Bedolido. Cagas and Fernandez allegedly told him that the publisher-editor caused his parents' death because "inintriga sila ni Bedolido" (in other words, Bedolido allegedly made up rumors about Mirafuentes' parents). Mirafuentes's parents were allegedly killed by Fernandez's security, Apolinario "Jun" Gamayot Jr. and Elizardo "Doydoy" Bacon, but Fernandez said the two were really working for the camp of Cagas rival Claude Bautista.

Bedolido was the editorial consultant of the weekly "Kastigador" (Castigator) and publisher of the "Mt. Apo Current" magazine. His colleague at "Kastigador" earlier told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that Bedolido previously worked for the provincial magazine of Cagas, but later transferred to the "Mt. Apo Current" controlled by Bautista's camp.

The two local politicians allegedly encouraged Mirafuentes to avenge his parents and even gave him and his brother pistols to use. Mirafuentes, together with his brother and two of Cagas's personnel who served as lookouts, killed Bedolido on 19 June, a few meters away from the publisher's karaoke shop in Digos City.

Bedolido's son, Marxlen, filed the complaint against Mirafuentes, his alleged look-out Artemio Timosan Jr., and a John Doe for murder before the Digos City Prosecutor's Office on 23 June. The preliminary investigation has been transferred to Manila.

Mirafuentes underwent preliminary investigation on 15 October at the DoJ office in Manila. The preliminary investigation was handled by Assistant State Prosecutor Hazel Decena Valdez.

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