NUJP cheers conviction of accused in Gerry Ortega death
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Tuesday rejoiced with the news that one of the accused in the death of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega has been convicted by the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Palawan RTC Branch 52 on Monday found Arturo “Nonoy” Regalado guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Regalado, who bought the gun used in the murder, was sentenced up to 40 years imprisonment.
“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines welcomes the conviction of Arturo “Nonoy” Regalado, the close-in aide of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, for his role in the murder of broadcaster, environmentalist and good governance advocate Gerardo Ortega,” NUJP chairperson Ryan Rosauro said in a statement.
“We thank and congratulate all those who tirelessly worked to ensure that the Ortega murder would not be cast in the dustbin of government apathy and inaction like the deaths of so many more of our colleagues,” he said.
Rosauro said the conviction “closes another link in the conspiracy that state witness Rodolfo ‘Bumar’ Edrad Jr. has established leads all the way to Joel Reyes and his brother Mario.”
He pointed out that Regalado first went into hiding, like his former boss, but eventually surrendered. Meanwhile, the Reyes brothers “fled the country in dubious circumstances and with the help of crooked immigration agents days before the warrant for their arrest could be issued then spent the next three years whooping it up in Phuket, Thailand on fake identities until they were arrested and deported back to the country in September last year,” he said.
Rosauro said NUJP is now hoping for the resolution of the case against the Reyes brothers so that “justice (may be) given to Gerry Ortega, his family and the people of Palawan whom he served.”
“It will be the rare instance when the masterminds to a journalist’s murder are actually convicted unlike the more than a hundred other media murders since 1986 that remain unsolved and help perpetuate the culture of impunity that has claimed thousands of lives in our country,” he said.
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