DAVAO CITY: One of the witnesses to the murder of a journalist in Digos City in 2010 was killed Thursday night here.
Ritchie Manapol, 34, was attacked by three armed men near a sari-sari store at Shrine Hills in Barangay Matina. Investigation showed that the suspects chased the victim and shot him twice in the chest and chin.
Manapol is one of the three witnesses in the murder of 50-year-old Nestor Bedolido on June 19, 2010 in Digos City.
The journalist’s wife, Rose, was devastated upon hearing the news.
“He is a very vital witness to the killing of my husband. This is a very bad, and sad news for me and my family,” Rose told The Manila Times in a telephone interview.
“I honestly do not know where this case is leading to, now that the vital witness is dead,” she added.
Rose said Manapol recently left from the witness protection program (WPP) of the Department of Justice.
“I received a text message that he was no longer under WPP last week. I do not know the details but I was informed about this last week,” she said.
The death of the witness, she said, will only benefit the brains behind the murder of her husband.
Bedolido, who wrote for the local weekly paper Kastigador, was shot six times outside a karaoke bar in Digos City by a gunman and an accomplice who fled on a motorcycle.
Four months after the killing, the alleged gunman, Voltaire Mirafuentes, surrendered to the Philippine National Police, naming former Davao del Sur governor Douglas Cagas and Matanao Mayor Butch Fernandez as the brains.
The court dismissed the case filed against Cagas and Fernandez but the family of Bedolido elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said Bedolido’s murder was apparently job-related, saying Bedolido “had written several exposés about a number of local politicians during the May (2010) elections”.