Bail OK’d for owner of gun in Ortega slay, denied for others

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PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Regional Trial Court (RTC) handling the case against the former governor of Palawan, his brother and other accused in the murder of Palawan journalist and environmentalist Gerry Ortega has allowed one of the principal accused in the case to post bail.

In a ruling released on Monday, RTC Branch 52 Judge  Angelo Arizala granted the bail petition of Romeo Seratubias, owner of the gun that was used in the shooting of Ortega.

Seratubias is one of the two main accused in the case who are in detention at the Palawan provincial jail. The accused masterminds, former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes and his brother Mario, have been in hiding since warrants for their arrest have been issued by the same court.

Arizala allowed Seratubias to post a bail of P300,000. Seratubias was released from the provincial jail on Tuesday after paying the bail bond.

The judge, however, in the same decision ruled against the bail petition of the other detained accused, Arturo Regalado, citing strong evidence in his role as coordinator of the hired killers who stalked and ambushed Ortega inside a used-clothing store on Jan. 24, 2011.

In a separate decision released on Tuesday, Arizala dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by Reyes’ lawyers asking Arizala to inhibit himself from the case because of alleged partiality toward the prosecution.

Reyes’ counsels had questioned Arizala’s alleged failure to resolve their petitions prior to the judge’s issuance of warrants of arrest for the Reyes brothers.

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