Suspect in journalist murder surrenders

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DAVAO CITY: Former Davao del Sur governor Douglas Cagas presented himself to the police on Monday morning hours after a court issued a warrant for his arrest over the murder of a journalist in Digos City in 2010.

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Accompanied by his family and some of his supporters, Cagas went to the provincial police and was immediately turned over to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Cagas is the alleged brains in the murder of Nestor Bedolido four years ago. Also facing the same charges is the mayor of the town of Matan-ao, Vicente Fernandez, who was rushed to the hospital before the arrest order could be served.

Cagas lambasted the court for pursuing with the case which he said is “politically motivated”.

“I am innocent. I have not committed a crime,” he said. “I have not asked anybody to kill for me that’s why I submitted myself since I have faith in God and trust in our judiciary system.”

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said Bedolido worked as editorial assistant in a publication owned by Cagas before tranferring to the newspaper owned by the political archenemy of Cagas.

CMFR also said Cagas and Fernandez provided the gunmen with firearms. Reports indicated that the victim began writing exposes against the two officials after his transfer.

“I know politics is behind all of these. This case had already been dismissed by our state prosecutors only to be reversed, later on,” Cagas said.

The case was earlier dismissed by the prosecutor, a decision reversed by the Department of Justice after the family of the victim requested a review.

Cesar Europa, lawyer for the Bedolido family, said the victim’s family welcomed the development.

Bedolido was the 140th of the 172 killed since 1986.

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