Miguel Belen

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Belen, a part-time radio commentator, died in a local hospital after being shot seven times by two motorcycle-riding assailants on the evening of July 9, according to news reports. On August 5, murder charges were filed against Eric Vargas, 34, the alleged driver, and Gina Bagacina, the accused shooter, according to news reports, which said Belen had identified his attackers before he died.

Senior Police Superintendent Jonathan Ablang told local reporters that Bagacina was a member of the New Peoples’ Army, a communist-inspired insurgent group that has long been active in the area. Ablang said there was a "relationship" between Bagacina and Belen but would give no specific details. The Philippine National Police said the killings might have been politically motivated but did not elaborate. Belen had worked on several local political campaigns.

On February 7, 2015, Legazpi City Regional Trial Court sentenced Vargas to life imprisonment for Belen’s murder, according to a local press report. He was ordered to pay 50,000 pesos (US$928) in exemplary damages. Bagacina was still at large at the time of Vargas’s conviction, according to the report.