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IFJ urges speedy resolution of journalist's murder

(IFJ/IFEX) - January 19, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists joins with affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in calling on the Government of Benigno Aquino to act impartially and swiftly to ensure justice in the case of murdered journalist Nestor Bedolido, for which two provincial officials are allegedly responsible.

Bedolido, of the weekly The Kastigador in Digos City, Davao del Sur, Mindanao, was shot six times on the street on the evening of June 19, 2010 by a lone gunman. Bedolido later died in hospital.

NUJP lawyer Adel Tamano said that suspect Voltaire Mirafuentes had confessed to police and alleged that Governor Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur and Matanao Mayor Butch Fernandez ordered the murder. Both men deny the accusation and say they have alibis for the day of the shooting.

"In most killings of journalists, there are no witnesses and hence it is very difficult for the cases to move forward. However, in this case the killer has turned himself in to the police, executed an affidavit admitting his guilt and has explicitly stated that Governor Cagas ordered the killing," Tamano said in a press briefing on January 18, reported by the Inquirer.

Tamano told the briefing that there were concerns about potential delays or stalling tactics which might drag out the resolution of the case.

"The IFJ joins with the NUJP in calling on the Aquino administration to ensure the murder of Nestor Bedolido is resolved quickly and impartially," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Justice in this case will send a strong a message that murdering journalists in the Philippines will not be tolerated by the authorities."

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