Witness in killing of journalist slain in southern Philippines
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Witness in killing of journalist slain in southern Philippines

A witness to the murder of a broadcaster was shot dead by three armed attackers in Davao City in southern Philippines.

Ritchie Manapol was watching a pool game in his neighborhood when the gunmen shot him in the chest and chin on Thursday evening.

Manapol was a witness to the slaying of 50-year-old Nestor Bedolido, who was gunned down in June 2010.

Reports said the gunmen chased the Manapol into the kitchen of the billiards hall after missing their target on the first attempt.

Manapol died on the spot.

The gunmen immediately fled the scene on a  motorcycle.

Manapol had earlier left the government’s witness protection program (WPP) after testifying in the Bedolido murder trial.

Henry Mirafuentes, the alleged gunman in the slaying of Bedolido, who surrendered to the police in Manila in October 2010, had earlier identified then Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas and Davao del Sur Mayor Butch Hernandez as masterminds behind the killing of the media man.

Cagas denied the allegation.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said Bedolido’s killing was work-related as he was writing articles critical of some politicians in Digos City.

Some reports, however, said Bedolido worked as a propagandist for other politicians.

Rose Bedolido, widow of the slain journalist, said the killing of Manapol is related to the murder of her husband.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said164 members of the Philippine media have been slain since it began recording media-related killings in 1986.

The latest victim was Samuel Oliverio, also from Digos City, who was killed in May this year.

The Philippines has been named as among the top 3 most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

On November 2009, 58 people were killed in a gruesome politically motivated killing. Thirty-two of the victims were journalists and media workers who were covering a convoy of relatives of a gubernatorial candidate in Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines.