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NBI regional execs: We never said Aranas killed himself

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A PHOTOGRAPH of Dennis Aranas, a witness in the murder of Gerry Ortega, taken in January 2011. Members of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group provincial office in Palawan took his fingerprints prior to his transfer to the Quezon provincial jail where he was found dead on Feb. 5. REDEMPTO D. ANDA / INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

BATANGAS CITY—The regional medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday reacted sharply to criticisms over his findings on the death of a witness in the murder of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega, saying he never said that Dennis Aranas committed suicide.

Dr. Antonio Vertido, NBI regional medico-legal officer, said statements made by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) assailing the NBI autopsy report on Aranas were “the height of irresponsibility.”

According to Vertido, what he said in his autopsy report was simply that Aranas, considered a key witness in the murder of Ortega, died of asphyxia by hanging but he never concluded that it was a case of suicide.

He said his job is just to conduct an autopsy and never to rule if a person’s death is by suicide or if foul play is involved.

“Never in my tenure as a medico-legal officer for 20 years that I gave a conclusion that the victim took his own life or was killed,” he said.

Vertido said he ruled the cause of death to be asphyxia by hanging because the ligature marks on Aranas’ neck were vertical, not horizontal which would have indicated that Aranas was strangled.

Aranas acted as a lookout for the team that murdered Ortega in Puerto Princesa City on Jan. 24, 2011. Former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, have been tagged as masterminds in the killing of Ortega, who has been trying to expose the plunder of revenue from the Malampaya gas field allegedly by the former governor.

Vertido conducted the autopsy on Aranas on Feb. 6, the day after Aranas was found dead inside a cell of the Quezon provincial jail. Aranas’ relatives, however, refused to believe jail officials’ tale that Aranas killed himself and sought help.

A PAO team, led by Dr. Erwin Erfe, conducted a separate autopsy and found bruises, strangulation marks and other signs of foul play.

The PAO report sharply contradicted the NBI report, prompting authorities including Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to express disbelief at the jail officials’ story that Aranas killed himself.

Lawyer Constantino Joson, NBI director for Calabarzon, said the NBI did not say Aranas committed suicide.

“We never said in our report that it was suicide or he was killed,” said Joson. “Only an investigating body can determine that,” said the regional head of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, former election lawyer of Joel Reyes, also cited the NBI report in her interviews with reporters recently.


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Tags: Crime , Dennis Aranas , Gerry Ortega , Media killings , NBI , News , Regions


  • barako22

    halatang corrupt yan si Dr. Antonio Vertido tanggalin na yan…

  • tonto_ka

    Vertido how come you omitted in your AUTOPSY report the bruises and other signs of foul play??? How much did you receive to gamble your 20 years of service??? May be more than enough???

    • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

      The guy has already explained. He is there to report the CAUSE OF DEATH. No more, no less.

      Namatay sa sakal ng bitay. [vertical] Yan sabi nya.

      Kayo na ang magdugtong kung ano sa tingin nyo, peru yan lang ang masabi niya. Fair enough.

      • panhase

          Yeah, cause of death, …. the heart stopped beating.
        If that´s all then one does not need a medico-legal officer with training in forensic medicine.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWISP2YXGDQ7K2SIX2GI37B2EI Darwin

        Hahaha. That means a simple janitor can take his job, anytime. Wag paswelduhin ng more than the minimum wage itong doctor na ito.

  • CheapJ

    There has to be another autopsy conducted. Either the result will corroborate that of Vertido or PAO’s.  

  • Jim De Garman

    com’on mr vertido.. I have a lot of Ariel soap to share it to wash your hands thoroughly including  under arm and body pit.

    Dr. Erfe is more credible than NBI who seems to cover up the death of Aranas.

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

    Kuryente.

  • johnlordphilip

    This medico legal officer should also be investigated. All autopsies he conducted for the 20 years in service should be reviewed. His autopsies may have caused many people injustice. 

    • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

      Maybe somebody else was tasked to investigate how come there is a dead probable witness.  Iba klasing trabaho iyan, at dapat na rin siguro busisiin kung may gumawa niyan o wala.

      Sabi ni Mr. Vertido hindi niya trabaho yan. Ang mga pulis parang may sinasabi na. Sila siguro ang dapat kaholin.

  • bogli_anakdami

    aranas choked himself to death… peks man… it’s true…

    it’s a normal behavior of flip gung gongs witnesses… it is a normal occurrence in flipland especially when the crime is/was committed by the well connected,,,

  • panhase

     Nice statement “Only an investigating body can determine that”.
    As medico-legal officer he is not part of an investigating body? Is it not part of his job to determine if foul play was involved or not? Why is then a need for a medico-legal officer to look at the dead person? Someone frm the barangay health center would be sufficient enough for this task.
    When I look at his statement i wonder if this guy is aspiring to become a politician.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felimon.o.rodriguez Felimon Rodriguez Jr.

       mukhang di kayo maka relate sa phases of investigation….the autopsy procedures can be depended upon by an investigator to determine “what happened”…the medico-legal, who is iusually a medical doctor by profession can only propound on what he see, based on his autopsy, that an investigator may ask…..he alone (medico-legal) can not issue a conclusion, but may agree to a conclusion after an investigator on the case had “cultivated” all the pieces of evidence, analyzed them, then make a final conclusion….you have to understand that there’s the so called initial investigation and investigation proper….crimes are investigated thoroughly…..an initial impression on a particular case may not be the same after the investigation proper is concluded…huwag manisi muna…

  • PinoyPinoyako

    How about the bruises, strangulation marks and other signs of foul play, Dr. Antonio Vertido???

    I salute the bravery and honesty of the PAO team.

    I still think that the NBI as an institution has a lot of very good and honest people except for Dr Vertido whose credibility stinks!!!

    Magkano ang binayad sayo??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XALR35ENV2XKV327BZGZ7Q5Z5Q Ernesto

    NBI na naman

  • http://www.facebook.com/felimon.o.rodriguez Felimon Rodriguez Jr.

     mukhang di kayo maka relate sa phases of investigation….the autopsy
    procedures can be depended upon by an investigator to determine “what
    happened”…the medico-legal, who is iusually a medical doctor by
    profession can only propound on what he see, based on his autopsy, that
    an investigator may ask…..he alone (medico-legal) can not issue a
    conclusion, but may agree to a conclusion after an investigator on the
    case had “cultivated” all the pieces of evidence, analyzed them, then
    make a final conclusion….you have to understand that there’s the so
    called initial investigation and investigation proper….crimes are
    investigated thoroughly…..an initial impression on a particular case
    may not be the same after the investigation proper is concluded…huwag
    manisi muna…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TNASVGXZ23VCJWV7KO7WPDIKKI George

    time to abolish this rotten agency, burn this down and start from scratch. the majority of the people here are rotten to the core. no amount of honest or dedicated justice sec. can fix this.



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