Media worker in General Santos City shot dead

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 November) — The circulation manager of Brigada News in General Santos City was shot dead by a motorcycle riding gunman just outside his office along NLSA Road in Lagao, General Santos City early this morning.

Alfredo ‘Dodong’ Velarde Jr. was waiting for the guard to open the gates of the Brigada News compound at 3:45 in the morning Friday when the gunman shot him at close range.

Velarde died on the spot. He was 45.

His female companion, who was seated at the passenger side of the company vehicle, escaped unharmed.  The woman said she was not able to see the face of the gunman.

The assailant fled together with a companion who was waiting in a motorcycle.

Company guards said they heard four gunshots.

Reports however said the killing was caught on the company’s close circuit television camera.  Police are now conducting investigation including the circumstances and motive behind the killing, and reviewing the CCTV recording to determine if the gunman can be identified.

Velarde Jr. was the first media worker from General Santos killed since the massacre of 14 journalists and media workers from this city who perished in the 23 November 2009 Ampatuan massacre along with 18 other media colleagues. Twenty-five other persons also died in the carnage.

Other media workers from this city who were killed included Jonathan Abayon of the defunct RGMA Super Radyo, Ely Binoya of Radyo Natin and Dennis Cuesta of RMN’s dxMD.

Lawyers Odilon Mallari, Boy de Castro and Vic Mirabueno, who were also radio commentators, were among the victims of unsolved media killings in the city.

General Santos has the most number of media killings with at least thirteen journalists and media workers, excluding those who were gunned down in the Ampatuan massacre, already in the list since the early ‘80s. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)