9 years after doctor-radioman Gerry Ortega’s murder, NUJP still pushing for justice
MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) has renewed its call of justice for environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega, who was gunned down in Palawan last January 24, 2011, or exactly nine years ago.
NUJP claimed on Friday that the wheels of justice should turn in favor of Ortega’s kin, especially after the Court of Appeals (CA) revived the murder case against the alleged mastermind and former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes.
Reyes was released from jail after CA favored his petition questioning the merits of the murder charge against him, but the same court last November ruled that it was too early to decide if the former provincial chief had a hand in Ortega’s death.
“Today, January 24, 2020, marks nine years to the day when a member of a team of hired killers felled Dr. Gerardo Ortega in Puerto Princesa […] All these years, Doc Gerry’s family has not wavered in their struggle to see him granted the justice he and the people he served and loved deserve,” NUJP said in a statement.
“We can do no less. Today, as we remember Doc Gerry, we call on the courts to let the wheels of justice finally turn, but not turn slowly,” they added.
Ortega was killed by a lone assailant after his radio program on DWAR station. His family suspects that the mastermind was Reyes, as the environmentalist had repeatedly criticized the then-governor for allegedly not acting on complaints of environmental abuses.
After filing the murder charges, Ortega’s widow Patria Gloria even said that Reyes has been blaming the victim for her failed congressional bid.
“Doc Gerry wore many hats: veterinarian, environmentalist, public servant, good governance advocate, civic leader, and broadcaster. It was, in fact, soon after he had finished hosting his program on radio station DWAR that Doc Gerry was shot dead,” NUJP noted.
“Fortunately, the gunman and, soon, all the members of the hit team were arrested, prosecuted, and convicted. In a rare instance, the hired killers named the alleged masterminds,” NUJP said.
The gunman, Marlon Recamata, admitted to killing Ortega and said that his group was hired by Rodolfo Edrad Jr., former close-in security of former Reyes. Recamata said they were paid 150,000 to do the job.
The gun recovered from Recamata was registered to a certain, Romeo Seratubias who served as provincial administrator when Reyes was Palawan governor.
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