Thursday, July 27, 2006

Police nabs three suspects in Pace slay

Another alert from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility:

In just two days after the incident, police apprehended three suspects in the 18 July killing of broadcaster Armando Pace in Digos, Davao del Sur, around 680 kilometers south of Manila.

On 19 July, the police nabbed suspect Juan Jesus Sataum, a money lender, whose motorcycle was allegedly used by the killer of Pace, according to Task Force Newsmen chief Pedro Tango.

The TFN chief said Sataum was taken into police custody after the black Kawasaki motorcycle, used in the slaying of the radio journalist, was found in his residence.

The second suspect, whose name was withheld by the police, allegedly went around bragging that he was the one who killed the radio commentator. The police, tipped off by the man’s neighbors, arrested him that same day.

The third suspect to be nabbed was identified as Joy Anticamara, alias “Tongol.” Anticamara was held by police at his residence in Junsay Subdivision in Digos City last 20 July by operatives of CIDG.

Anticamara was identified by a 16-year-old witness who said she was about five to 10 meters away from the gunman when he shot the broadcaster. Police said the witness positively identified Anticamara as the person who shot the broadcast journalist in a police lineup.

The witness, who is now under police custody, said Anticamara was wearing a cap during the attack and, after shooting Pace, he casually tucked in the pistol he used.

The police said the witness’ testimony was solid because she personally knew Anticamara.

Pace had just left the radio station after his daily one-hour block time program Ukadyang (12:30-1:30 pm) and was on his way to downtown Digos City when the men pulled beside the victim's own motorcycle. One of the men shot Pace in the dead several times using a .45 caliber pistol.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Razon sent Tango to Digos City to coordinate all investigative efforts and extend technical assistance to local PNP units who conducted follow-up operations on the murder of Pace, a block timer for radio station dxDS.

Police investigators added that Pace’s killing could be motivated by "a personal grudge or related to his fiery radio commentary that earned him strings of libel cases filed by politicians, businessmen and other individuals."

According to a report by the Inquirer News Service, Pace regularly criticized politicians and even businessmen for their alleged wrong-doings.

Pace was imprisoned once for failing to post bail in connection with a libel case filed by a politician a few years ago. He always bragged that he was the most sued broadcaster with about 99 libel suits, the report added.

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