Aide of ex-Palawan gov convicted for murder of broadcaster
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—A court here on Monday convicted for murder one of the principal accused in the 2011 killing of Dr. Gerry Ortega, a Palawan-based journalist.
In a 14-page decision, Judge Angelo Arizala of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 52, sentenced Arturo Regalado, an aide of accused mastermind and former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes, to life imprisonment.
Regalado had been tagged by the police as the main contact person of a team of assassins from Quezon province that killed Ortega on Jan. 24, 2011. He is one of three principal accused in the murder case, along with Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
According to court records, Regalado facilitated the acquisition of a gun that was used in the murder and communicated with the killers who tailed Ortega. One of the hired guns shot and killed Ortega, a popular local radio commentator, inside a used-clothes store in this Palawan capital.
The gunman, Marlon Recamata, was arrested while fleeing the crime scene. He pleaded guilty and was convicted of murder in May 2013.
Ortega’s family filed a murder complaint against the Reyes brothers and other suspects after investigation showed evidence linking the former governor to the case. The trial of the Reyes brothers for Ortega’s murder is ongoing at the RTC Branch 52.
The brothers, who fled the country prior to their indictment, were arrested in Thailand in September last year and were eventually detained at the Puerto Princesa City jail.
Ortega’s wife, Patria Gloria Ortega, was pleased with the court’s decision, hoping this would lead to the eventual conviction of the other principal suspects. “[I consider this] a landmark decision … . I’m hoping we will finally get justice for Gerry,” she said.
Gov. Jose Alvarez said: “In spite of his (Regalado) … recantations, the court will not be fooled by the various players of the crime all working under the office of the former governor.”
“I hope Gerry starts to rest in peace,” Alvarez said.
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