Filipino journalists

Police identify suspect in killing of Davao journalist

Grace Cantal-Albasin

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Police identify suspect in killing of Davao journalist
Davao del Sur police chief Colonel Guisseppe Geralde says the suspect is also believed to be responsible for the killing of a cop in the Davao region

Slain journalist Orlando “Dondon” Dinoy was laid to rest in his hometown in Davao del Sur, on Wednesday, November 10, amid signs of progress in the police investigation into his murder in late October.

Police have identified a suspect in the October 30 murder of the journalist in his apartment in Bansalan town, Davao del Sur.

The online-based Newsline Philippines, where Dinoy worked as a reporter, said a witness came forward and identified the suspected gunman through the police’s rogues gallery and a computerized composite sketch.

Davao del Sur police chief Colonel Guisseppe Geralde said the suspect is also believed to be responsible for the killing of a policeman in the Davao region.

Dinoy is the 21st journalist slain in the Philippines during the Duterte administration, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP). 

The initial investigation showed that the victim went out of his apartment to respond to knocks on his gate on the evening of October 30.

When the gunman started shooting at him, Dinoy rushed back to his apartment but the gunman chased him, barged in, and repeatedly shot him at close range.

Police found him dead inside the small apartment. Dinoy had six gunshots to the chest and abdomen.

Geralde said investigators theorized that Dinoy was killed because of his blunt posts on his Facebook account about politics and illegal gambling. 

Dinoy’s family buried him on Wednesday at Bansalan Public Cemetery as they appealed to the police to speed up their work and give them justice.

Editha Cadauya, who heads Newsline Philippines, said the reporter’s murder could be work-related although “police are looking at Dinoy’s other Facebook accounts in the hope of finding more useful information.”

Efforts to stop attacks on journalists

In the House of Representatives, members of the progressive Makabayan bloc filed a November 5 resolution, urging the lower chamber’s human rights committee to start an investigation into the October 30 incident.

The lawmakers expressed alarm over the growing list of slain journalists and other acts seen as harassment of media, such as the shutdown of television giant ABS-CBN and the string of cases filed against Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa, Rappler CEO, and her company under the Duterte administration.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, one of the lawmakers who filed House Resolution No. 2327, told Rappler that a House committee investigation could help in crafting a measure to prevent, if not stop, the attacks on journalists and hold to account those responsible for the brazen killings. 

“It must bring perpetrators to account to put a stop to the killings and rights violations. Journalists are duty-bound to uncover the truth for the interest of the public and they must be accorded protection, not persecution or oppression, in the performance of their duties,” read part of the resolution. 

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The Cagayan de Oro Press Club released a statement condemning Dinoy’s murder and other acts of violence carried out by what it called “enemies of press freedom.”

Dr. Manuel Jaudian, COPC president, said: “This senseless and cowardly act will not stop us from exposing excesses of government. We ask police authorities to hasten the investigation and determine the mastermind of this cowardly act.”

Caduaya, who is also the president of the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC), noted that Dinoy died on the day the world celebrated the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. 

“We ask the government and all its instrumentalities to be more transparent, not onion-skinned, as we believe that a free press uncovers the truth,” Caduaya said. –

Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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