Autopsy of body of witness in Ortega slay pressed

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PATRICIA Ortega (first from right), wife of murdered environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega, announces in a press conference that the murder case against the Reyes brothers continues. With her are Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and lawyer Alex Avisado. NINO JESUS ORBETA FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Ortega family will push for the autopsy of the body of one of the witnesses to the death of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.

Dennis Aranas is the alleged lookout when Ortega was killed.

Chief Inspector Job de Mesa, officer in charge of Lucena PNP, said Aranas was found dead inside the Quezon District Jail Tuesday morning but the police came to know only of the incident a few hours later when Aranas’ brother Aljon sought the police’s help for the autopsy his brother’s body.

Aranas died with a strap of a bag tied around his neck. He was brought to Quezon Medical Center but was dead on arrival. He has been removed from the government’s Witness Protection Program.

Mica Ortega, daughter of Gerry Ortega, said they are already pooling funds for the autopsy.

The Ortega family is doubtful on the real cause of Aranas’ death.

“We liken this to what happens in the Maguindanao massacre trial and how the death of witnesses can affect the case. We are just worried because as witnesses die (for whatever cause) the case may weaken in the long run,” Ortega said.

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Tags: Crime , Gerry Ortega , Media killings , Nation , News , press freedom

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