Bicol broadcaster’s killer gets life

Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - February 7, 2015 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The killer of a radio broadcaster in Iriga City was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday.

In an 11-page decision, Regional Trial Court Branch 60 Judge Timoteo Panga Jr. found Eric Vargas guilty of the murder of Miguel “Mike” Belen, 48, a reporter and commentator of dwEB-FM.

Panga also ordered Vargas to pay the family of the victim P50,000 in exemplary damages.

Belen was riding his motorcycle on his way home when Vargas and his companion, riding another motorcycle, shot him on July 9, 2010. Belen was confined in a hospital for one month, during which he managed to identify his assailants.

Vargas’ companion, Gina Bagazina, a suspected New People’s Army rebel, remains at large.

Vargas’ camp said they would appeal the decision.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines welcomed Vargas’ conviction.

“It provides a ray of hope in a country where very few cases of media killings even reach the courts due to inept investigation or the involvement of local executives and police,” Rowena Paraan, NUJP chairperson, said. – With Artemio Dumlao

BELEN ERIC VARGAS GINA BAGAZINA IRIGA CITY JUDGE TIMOTEO PANGA JR. NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES NEW PEOPLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH ROWENA PARAAN VARGAS
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