Family of slain Gerry Ortega renews calls for justice
MANILA, Philippines—The family of slain journalist Gerry Ortega on Thursday renewed calls for justice, launching a signature campaign in hopes of spurring government action on the nearly five-year-old case.
“It has almost been five years since Dr. Gerry Ortega was murdered. Up until now, Palawan has been crying and demanding for justice. We still await the trial of the murder suspects, primarily the former Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes,” read a statement the family released Thursday.
Ortega, a vocal critic of the former governor and his brother, former Coron Town Mayor Mario Reyes for alleged misuse of the Malampaya funds, was gunned down on Jan. 24, 2011.
Gunman Marlon Recamata was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013, but the two primary suspects, the Reyes brothers, remain in hiding.
The Ortega family has a pending review petition at the Department of Justice, after the Court of Appeals dismissed charges against the Reyes siblings also in 2013.
“The trial has been hampered by the adamant refusal of the Reyes brothers to submit to the majesty of the court. To this day, they remain fugitives, flaunting their ability to evade legal processes,” the statement read.
The Palawan media community issued a separate statement, citing how “the flaws in our judicial system have benefited powerful individuals.”
“We deplore the inability of our law enforcement agencies to arrest two ordinary individuals who, as former public officials, were supposed to be untrained and not oriented on the tactics of countersurveillance and evasion,” the statement read.
They called on the Reyes siblings to “to let justice take its course.” Tara Quismundo/RAM
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