Suspect in journalist’s murder freed on bail

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 17 December) – A suspect in the killing of broadcast journalist Eduardo Dizon last July 10 has been freed on bail.

Jail authorities released on Tuesday Sotero Jacolbe Jr., based on the order issued on December 17 by Judge Arvin Sadiri Balagot of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17.

The order said Jacolbe, also a radio broadcaster, posted bail amounting to half a million pesos for his provisional liberty, through Erlinda Jacolbe of Tahran Subdivision.

After posting the bond, Balagot ordered the jail warden of the Kidapawan City Jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to discharge Jacolbe, who was among those identified by witnesses in the killing of Dizon on July 10, 2019.

Dizon, anchor of Brigada News FM, was driving towards home in Makilala, North Cotabato when he was gunned down. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds

Jacolbe voluntarily surrendered to authorities on October 7 and pleaded not guilty during the arraignment.

Also charged with murder were Dante Tabosares who is known in the local media as “Bong Encarnacion,” and a Jonel Geruzaga, allegedly the gun-for-hire.

When Jacolbe turned himself in last October, he said: “I know myself. My family, relatives, and friends also know me. I will face the court. Truth will set me free,” he said.

Jacolbe, Geruzaga, and Tabosares were accused of conniving to kill Dizon.

Before his death, Dizon made hard-hitting commentaries against the alleged investment scam perpetuated by the Kabus Padatuon (Kapa) Community Ministry International.

On August 22, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMs) chief Joel Egco presented in a news conference in Malacañang two witnesses wearing masks who accused certain Kapa members of involvement in the killing of Dizon.

“The suspects, based on our witnesses’ affidavits, are Kapa members who are also media people themselves,” GMA News Online quoted Andanar as saying.

He said the witnesses are assured of government protection “as they are being subjected to intimidation or other forms of threat by the suspects who, based on our information, are influential people in their province.”

Tabosares was identified as media coordinator of Kapa for North Cotabato.

One of the witnesses said Tabosares ordered the killing of Dizon while the other said he saw the actual shooting. Egco said the alleged gunman was identified through CCTV footage. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)