Confessed gunman in Ortega murder case fears transfer to Lucena City jail



Murder suspects Dennis Aranas (L) and Marlon Recamata arrive at the Department of Justice, Manila for the preliminary investigation of the murder case of radio broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega in this February 2011 file photo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Marlon Recamata, the triggerman in the Gerry Ortega murder case, is facing a new murder case in Quezon province that could land him in a similar jail facility where his companion, Dennis Aranas, died under mysterious circumstances.

Aranas’ death was labeled a suicide by the National Bureau of Investigation but Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta on Sunday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that Aranas sustained bruises, swelling and contusions that could indicate he was a victim of foul play.

“Have you seen someone who had undergone (fraternity) hazing rites? That’s how it looked like,” said Acosta after a PAO forensic doctor ran a re-examination of Aranas’ body on Sunday noon at a morgue in San Pablo City.

Acosta said Aranas sustained bruises in the arms and legs and wounds in his mouth.

Asked what their findings meant, “eh, di binugbog s’ya (clearly, he was mauled),” said Acosta, who was interviewed by phone as she was in Funeraria Popular in San Pablo City, Laguna where Aranas’ body was lodged.

Aranas, 37, was tagged as a lookout in the death of Palawan environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2010. He was found hanging inside his detention cell at the district jail in Lucena City in Quezon on Feb. 5.

But Aranas’ family doubted the findings of the NBI autopsy that he died of “asphyxia by hanging” and sought assistance from PAO.

According to Acosta, Aranas’ family took pictures of the body immediately after he died.

“I did not immediately show the pictures to our forensic doctor. When he stepped out of the examination room, he said he too saw the bruises on Aranas’ body as shown on the pictures,” Acosta said.

She said her office would file a report to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to find out who were behind Aranas’ death.

But Chief Superintendent Serafin Barretto Jr., director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), questioned PAO’s jurisdiction to examine the body.

“That’s not their job. Their role is to attend to legal matters,” said Barretto, who stood by the NBI’s report that Aranas killed himself.

Aranas was “still breathing” when found but died in a hospital after a few hours, he said. He said the NBI in Lucena City conducted an autopsy that same day before the body was released to the family.

Recamata, on the other hand, is being summoned to face inquest proceedings in a murder case before the sala of Judge Maria May Zafranco-Redor of the Regional Trial Court in Pagbilao, Quezon. The judge has set the hearing on March 11 this year, under case docket number 10492-09, based on the summon that was served on Recamata at the Puerto Princesa police headquarters where he has been jailed for the last two years.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer source in the Puerto Princesa police said the confessed hitman has expressed fears for his life with his planned transfer to another prison facility. Recamata is scared that he will end up like Aranas in the Lucena City jail, according to the source, who asked not to be named for not having been authorized to speak on behalf of Recamata.

He added that Recamata, who has been acting as the “mayor” (cell leader) among inmates in the jail facility, has been content awaiting his judgment after confessing his role as gunman in the Jan. 24, 2011 killing of Palawan journalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.

“(Recamata) believes his safe is assured if he remains in this jail,” said the source.

Aranas was earlier released from the witness protection program because of a separate arrest warrant that landed him in the Lucena jail. Authorities last week claimed he committed suicide, his body reportedly found hanging by a luggage strap wrapped around his neck.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona, the Senate blue ribbon chairman, meanwhile, warned the Department of Justice against what he claimed was a loophole in the witness protection program, describing the practice as “legal dukot (legal abduction).”

The committee conducted a probe recently on the death of Ortega and learned that Ortega’s vocal crusade against officials linked to the Malampaya royalty fund misuse might have pushed certain groups to have him killed.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • ed_nique

    the reaction of the BJMP director is disturbing … he questions PAO’s jurisdiction but he did not discount the possibility that the NBI might have missed something

    • F alonso

      He is directly responsible for this mess,obviously he will try to save his face.It’s really disturbing to see one who decided to take his own life will RUB or BANG his hands on the wall before he will tie his neck.
      Puwedeng mag complain ang family nito kung mayaman sila.Kung poor people,he will just be taken for granted,that may just be a possibility.

  • tonto_ka

    Baretto magkano ba ang natanggap mo???

  • calixto909

    If the Guingona committee unraveled a conspiracy to commit the murder of Ortega due to the anomaly done to the malampaya fund and that the confessed killer is now at risk of extermination then it is paramount that the state witness protection program must now step in to salvage his life. For the confessed gunman’s death shall nail the coffin of the case filed against the perpetrators. The death of the case filed is the death of the justice being sought by the families of the murdered victim.

  • geminimind

    The cell mate of aranas  has something to say but cannot open his mouth  for fear of  death that’s coming near.(a punishment of being a snitch).

  • F alonso

    hindi kaya mahalata ng Dr. kung naki paglaban muna to biktina o hindi? Ang nakaka pagtaka bakt mismo si Mr. Palengke ay paniwalang paniwala sa medical finding.Sana pinakita rin sa ibang Dr.Imposibleng i umpog muna sa pader kamay ni kolokoy bago mag bigti.
    Suspect lahat yang ka selda ni Aranas.Ipitin ang kanilang Patatas,kakanta mga yan.

  • F alonso

    Ginawan ng justified na pag dukot yang Aranas na yan.Who would care to complain?Unless one would care  to gamble his neck over the issue.
    Yung Mayor sa celda ni Aranas ang makakapag bigay ng tamang testimonya.Bigyan ng Candy (Truth Serum) kakanta yan.

  • Ernesto

    ang maliliit nakukulong ang big fish tumakbo sa ibang bansa.ano klase  ang hustisya dito.darating ang araw ang tao di na magrespito sa opisyal nang gobyerno.

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    The autopsy conducted by the NBI is supposed to be documented.  No, I am not referring to the final “medico-legal necropsy report” containing the autopsy findings.  I am referring to the audio or video recording of the procedure as it is being performed by the pathologist in real time.  Notes and photographs should also be available and preserved.  If there were indeed bruises on Aranas’ body, these records should be available and can show if the presence of those bruises were duly noted in the NBI autopsy. Or, if it was suppressed.
    We should not allow the report of any investigative body to stand without scrutinizing the procedure they followed in coming up with the report, especially with respect to autopsies.
    One should recall the Vizconde case.  The NBI “lost” the semen sample which they claimed was recovered from Carmela Vizconde.  As a consequence, the DNA testing which the Supreme Court had allowed and ordered conducted on said sample could not be done.

    And of course we should not forget the 2003 incident when the Chief of the NBI Medico Legal Division himself was sacked after being caught red-handed extorting money in exchange for a favorable autopsy finding.  But to be fair to the NBI,  in this incident they themselves mounted the entrapment operation against their own colleague in the service.

  • $14334231

    patay kang barretto, jr. ka….mahirinan sana ang lahat na pinakain mo sa, magkano kasi??….kasi kung wala kang sabit, maski sinong demonyo ang umeksamin sa nasawing bangkay ni aranas, hindi ka aangal…ayan lumalabas tuloy na parang kasangkot ka….(o baka naman talagang may alam kaya nangangalaiti ka)…. 

    • tiburara74

      Calabarzon na naman.  At BJMP;s Barumbado Baraddo (ang utak) Jr. naman ngayon.  Wala na bang natitirang matino diyan sa Calabarzon PNP/BJMP/AFP? 

  • abraham ortiz

    ta type ako tapos hintayin pa ang madoretor.Anong klasing pag post ito kung ganyan na maghintay ka pa?

  • Haring Buraot

    “Aranas was “still breathing” when found but died in a hospital after a
    few hours, he said. He said the NBI in Lucena City conducted an autopsy
    that same day before the body was released to the family.”
    —correct me if im wrong pero alam ko dalawa lang resulta sa pagbibigte – dedo pag di napigilan tapos buhay kapag naagapan.walang gitna.parang malabo ung “still breathing” pero natigok pa din.

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