Cagayan de Oro City

Work-related, cops say of first killing of media worker in Cagayan de Oro

Froilan Gallardo

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Work-related, cops say of first killing of media worker in Cagayan de Oro

SLAIN COMMENTATOR. Cagayan de Oro radio block-timer and political commentator Federico Gempesaw lies dead near his taxi after gunmen attacked him on June 29.

courtesy of Pat Pangantihon

'Why is it that we were not informed immediately?' asks Cagayan de Oro Press Club president Frank Mendez

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Police revealed on Thursday, October 27, the results of their investigation that validated suspicions that the June murder of a radio political commentator in the city was an offshoot of his media work.

Citing results of their investigation, authorities said the murder of radio commentator Federico “Ding” Gempesaw was masterminded by a “big figure” and that two hitmen executed the plan.

Gempesaw, 62, was the first media worker ever killed by gunmen in Cagayan de Oro.

PROBE. Police cordon off the area where Cagayan de Oro radio commentator Federico Gempesaw was killed on June 29, and talk to potential witnesses.

Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Viñas, the spokesman of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), said Gempesaw’s on-air commentaries shortly before he was killed caught the ire of the primary suspect.

Viñas declined to identify the suspects but he revealed for the first time that police filed on August 11 murder complaints against two men identified to have carried out the attack.

Masked gunmen shot and killed Gempesaw in broad daylight near his home in Macanhan, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro’s most populous village on June 29. He fought back after being shot to the nape at close range, but a second bullet to the head finished him off.

Police said they could not give the suspects’ names and details of the investigation so as not to jeopardize their plan.

“It was definitely a media-related killing. Gempesaw was killed because the mastermind could not stand his daily tirades on radio,” Viñas said during a forum on media security organized by Brigadier General Lawrence Coop, Philippine National Police (PNP) director for Northern Mindanao.

Frank Mendez, the president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), said it came as a surprise to many why it took the police so long to inform media organizations in the city that they have already identified suspects, determined the motive, and that they already pressed charges.

“Why is it that we were not informed immediately?” Mendez said.

Gempesaw, a hard-hitting political commentator, was the host of the program Bitayan sa Kahanginan (Gallows on air) aired by local broadcaster Radyo Natin.

Images of Gempesaw’s bloodied body sprawled on the ground near a parked taxi and his house sent chills in the local media community that, until June 29, never saw one of its own get killed in cold blood, and in broad daylight.

Witnesses said they saw the wounded Gempesaw wrestling with one of the gunmen before another pumped a bullet into his head, killing the radio commentator on the spot. The killers then fled on a motorcycle without a license plate.

Gempesaw had started his work in the media as the host of a block-time radio program that favored the late Cagayan de Oro mayor Vicente Emano.

Being a staunch supporter of Emano, he was made head of the Cagayan de Oro City Economic Enterprise Department, a city hall office that manages the local government-owned markets. He had briefly served as city administrator. –

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