Ortega slay witnesses not going anywhere, says DOJ chief

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The remaining suspect turned witness in the murder of Palawan environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega remains under the protective custody of the government and will not be transferred to the Quezon provincial jail where another witness turned up dead last week.

By way of belying Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn’s claim that star witness Rodolfo Edrad Jr., aka Bumar, was to be moved to the jail in Lucena City to face charges in another case, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said Edrad was still in the government’s Witness Protection Program and the Quezon court that had sought his transfer had granted the prosecution’s motion to keep him under WPP custody.

Edrad had hired the gunman who fatally shot Ortega two years ago in Puerto Princesa City. He turned state’s evidence along with Dennis Aranas, who was held in the Quezon provincial jail to face charges in another case when he was found dead in his cell under mysterious circumstances.

De Lima has clarified that the National Bureau of Investigation had not ruled Aranas’ death a suicide when it said it was caused by “asphyxia by hanging.’’

She said the NBI was investigating Aranas’ death and was not discounting the possibility of foul play.

“Please do not worry. I’m directing this to the Ortegas and Hagedorn. Please check your facts,” she said.

Alarmed by news

She said she was alarmed by a news report that quoted Hagedorn as saying the transfer of Edrad to the Quezon jail was suspicious after Aranas died there.

“He has not been transferred and we don’t intend to transfer him to any

other facility, especially since the court granted our motion,” De Lima told reporters.

Hagedorn had said there was “something fishy” about the cases filed against Edrad and Aranas in Quezon. He also found suspicious the transfer of Aranas to the jail in Lucena City and the move to have Edrad brought there after he testified on the Ortega murder.

Edrad had expressed fears about the transfer and became apprehensive about testifying against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and the latter’s brother Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, whom he had tagged as the masterminds in the killing of Ortega.

De Lima said the information on Edrad was wrong and she could not understand where it had come from.

“Is this deliberate or what? Because this won’t do any good,” she said.

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  • Vincent_Bugaboo

    ita-transfer din si Edrad kung saan namatay si Aranas? E kung minulto s’ya ni Aranas at “nagpakamatay” din s’ya sa takot? Ang mga “multo” pa naman d’on NANANAKAL!

  • Guest

    01. Kung hindi pa dahil sa timbre ni Hagedorn, baka patay na rin ang remaining witness. Puro palpak itong DOJ.

    02. Sa sobrang palpak ng DOJ, Leila de Lima is working out an agreement with Amalilio to just pay back Kris Aquino the 50 million she invested in the pyramid scam and Amalilio will be let off the hook. (Read Manila Times article today). Kaya pala malihim si Leila de Lima on her secret negotiations with Malaysia and Amalilio.

  • Rovingmoron

    Dapat yung huwes na nag order ng transfer doon sa pinatay sa sakal sa loob ng selda ay papanagutin din. Why? The public is thinking that money may have changed hands in the courts of Lucena City, which led to the transfer of the victim, even if he was under the  care of the Protection Program. Now, the immediate relatives of the victim can file a criminal case against the judge with the Office of the Ombudsman and his disbarment from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, too.

  • butchred

    siguro kungdi nag salita si mayor hagedorn, di mabigyan ng pinsin ni delimna yan!

  • RomyLitz

    The best way to expedite this case is to kidnap the relatives of the suspected killers like the Reyeses to force them to reveal the whole truth. Or , expedite the assasination of both Reyeses so that while the case progresses, at least the very prime suspects are already 6 feet below the ground too like Ortega, the victim.

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

    Sa presinto pag sinabi ng pulis na nagbigti ka ng sarili mo wala nang kokontra dyan.

  • puza65

    YAN ANG BATAS SA ATIN BASTA MAY PERA KA KAYA NILANG PAIKUTIN AT BAYARAN ANG MGA HUWES…

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