A gunman on a motorcycle shot Radio Mindanao Network anchor Dennis Cuesta five times with a .45 caliber pistol on August 4, 2008. He was rushed to the hospital where he died five days later. His murder is believed to be a result of a segment he ran during his radio program, “Sumbong at Aksiyon” (Grievance Desk), about a village’s contaminated water supply. According to Alex Joson, RMN station manager for General Santos, Cuesta began receiving death threats after the report was aired, while suspicious individuals were seen in the vicinity of the station.
The police and Task Force 211 filed murder charges against a police officer, Inspector Redemptor Acharon, for the death of Cuesta.
Acharon has evaded arrest for almost three years now. The failure to arrest Acharon has led to the archiving of the murder case by a branch of the Makati Regional Trial Court. The case was transferred from General Santos City upon the request of the family and colleagues of Cuesta.
Cuesta’s case gained international attention with Reporters Without Borders issuing a statement saying, “We urge the government to send a strong signal of its determination to protect the media by assigning additional resources to the [police] task force in charge of investigating attacks on journalists”. The task force is Task Force Usig, a special police unit created to probe the murders of activists and journalists.
More information on the killing of journalists and media workers can be found on the CMFR interactive map (http://www.cmfr-phil.org/journalistkilled)