Radio Mindanao Network talk show host Dennis Cuesta died on 9 August from the injuries he received when a gunman shot him five times in a shopping mall in General Santos City on the southern island of Mindanao on 4 August. Doctors had managed to extract a bullet lodged in his head but he had remained in a coma ever since the shooting.
Cuesta’s show, “Straight to the Point,” was hard-hitting on controversial subjects such as corruption and drug trafficking. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the shooting was linked to his work as a journalist.
The police created a special unit on 5 August to oversee the investigation into the shooting. Presidential spokesman Jesus Dureza said: “I called up the police there and asked them to send me regular updates on their progress.”
Cuesta was the second Radio Mindanao Network journalist to die as a result of a shooting in the space of two days. Commentator Martin Rojas was shot in the back by men on a motorcycle as he was returning home from work on 7 August in Roxas City, in the central island of Panay, and died a few hours later in the city’s Emmanuel de Capiz hospital, Reuters reported.
These two killings come just a month after the murder of a journalist in Quezon province and Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to identify and punish those responsible.“We call on the government to send a strong signal of its determination to protect the media by providing additional resources to the Task Force in charge of investigating attacks on journalists,” the organisation said.