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Radio journalist found dead in Maguindanao, Philippines

(CMFR/IFEX) - A radio blocktimer was found dead in the province of Maguindanao last 1 September 2012, three days after he was reported missing by his family. Maguindanao is a province approximately 955 kilometers south of Manila and was the site of the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers.

Eddie Jesus Apostol, a blocktimer at the Kidapawan City-based radio station dxND, was found floating in the Liguasan Marsh near Sultan sa Barongis town in Maguindanao last 1 September 2012, according to his brother Ramil.

Ramil told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility that the blocktimer had three gunshot wounds in his body. The blocktimer's wallet, wrist watch, and the motorcycle he had been driving are still missing.

Ramil said that his brother went to Kabacan town in North Cotabato last 29 August 2012 to visit a brother-in-law. An eyewitness reportedly saw Eddie leaving Kabacan town with an unidentified man that same day.

Later that day, Eddie's daughter tried to call her dad on his mobile number (+639993432255) to ask him to fetch her and her mother but her dad did not answer her call. After a few hours, a man speaking in another dialect called Eddie's daughter using his mobile number. Eddie's daughter tried to talk to the man but the man ended the call. She tried to call her dad's mobile phone again but it was already inaccessible.

On 30 August 2012, Ramil Apostol said he reported to the police that his brother was missing. On 1 September 2012, the Apostols received information from the North Cotabato police that a body had been found in Liguasan Marsh. Ramil rushed to the place and confirmed that the body was that of his brother.

The family and the police are still unsure of the motive behind the killing of blocktimer Eddie Apostol. Ramil denied reports that his brother was treasure-hunting when he went missing.

Ramil said Konseho sa Kahanginan (Council on the Air) was the first blocktime radio program his brother hosted. According to Malu Manar, dxND programming director, Apostol's radio show first aired on 8 June 2011, and focused on developmental issues and "good news" in the province of North Cotabato. Before joining dxND, Apostol was a town councilor of Magpet, North Cotabato.

According to Senior Superintendent Jaime Pido, director of Maguindanao Provincial Police Office, there is still no official report about the incident. Meanwhile, the Public Affairs Office of the Army's 6th Infantry Division said that their investigation is still in progress. (AFP reported that members of the Army's 6th Infantry Division were the ones who discovered Apostol's body.)

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