RMN General Santos City broadcaster dies

Aug. 10, 2008

By Davao Today

Dennis Cuesta

Dennis Cuesta, the program director of Radio Mindanao Network-DXMD, died at half past three this afternoon, RMN vice president for Mindanao Dodong Solis confirmed in a text message.

Cuesta fought for his life at the intensive care unit of the St. Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City for almost five days after he was shot at around 4:30 p.m. near the Gaisano mall of General Santos city on Monday.

He left seven children and his wife.

Cuesta used to anchor the hard hitting primetime radio program “Straight to the Point” over DXMD – General Santos. Apart from tackling corruption on air, he also heard out complaints from residents. Among the latest issues he tackled were complaints of maltreatment against a car company, where he was asked to testify for the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

He also tackled an alleged water contamination incident involving a private water system owned by a barangay official.

Cuesta just alighted from a multicab after a trip from Glan, Sarangani, where RMN held a promotional activity, when he was shot by unidentified men.

Former broadcaster Bobby Flores, who was with him, said he and Cuesta were walking along the national highway when he heard gunshots.

He saw Cuesta just slumped beside him, crying for help because his head hurt. Flores said motorists and bystanders avoided them but a tricycle driver came along and helped him bring Cuesta to the hospital.

Flores, however, suffered from a mild stroke in the hospital after police interrogated him. He also said that Cuesta has been receiving threats weeks before he was killed.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippine- Davao Chapter (NUJP-Davao) condemns the killing of Cuesta as the latest attack on press freedom, another manifestation that the culture of impunity reigns in our midst.

NUJP said the killing only shows the failure of authorities in prosecuting and punishing criminals. The group demands a thorough and immediate solution to Cuesta’s shooting.

NUJP General Santos city called Cuestas killing an act of barbarism in a place known for its tight security and high police visibility due to past incidence of bomb attacks and unsolved vigilante-style killings.

What is so appalling is the seeming boldness and brazen manner the attack was staged, showing no fear or not even a bit of respect for the authorities, the statement from NUJP-General Santos said. This is not the first time that a broadcaster in General Santos was harmed. There is a long list already.

For the nth time, we call on the police and other government authorities to perform to the fullest their sworn duties of protecting the people, the NUJP statement said. We challenge the police to act with swiftness and determination in arresting the perpetrators. We call upon our media colleagues to stay united and be more vigilant as we stand for our rights and defend press freedom. (davaotoday.com)

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