Witness takes stand, points to Reyes as murder brains
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The lone state witness in the Gerry Ortega murder case took the stand on Monday and pointed to former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes as the mastermind in the killing, along with the governor’s brother and former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr., Reyes’ former bodyguard, reiterated his claim during direct examination at the sala of Palawan Regional Trial Court Judge Angelo Arizala, that he was ordered by the former governor to devise and execute the plan to kill Ortega, a popular radio broadcaster who had been criticizing Reyes.
Ortega was shot and killed by a hired gunman, Marlon Recamata, inside a used-clothing store near his veterinary clinic here on Jan. 24, 2011.
Recamata was arrested immediately after the shooting and was first to identify Edrad as his recruiter.
A former soldier, Edrad went into hiding after he was implicated by Recamata and several other witnesses. He later surrendered and offered to turn state witness.
Edrad’s court appearance was set in the course of the Reyes brothers’ petition for bail, which the court is expected to decide following the testimonies of Edrad and the three witnesses for the defense.
The Reyeses, in affidavits submitted during preliminary investigation, denied Edrad’s claim.
On direct examination by prosecution lawyer Harry Roque, Edrad said he had received from Mario Reyes P500,000 on the night after Ortega’s killing when he went to Mario’s house in Metro Manila.
Edrad also identified the governor’s aide, Arturo Regalado, as the person who received the money he sent to Palawan province through a money transfer firm as payment for the gun that was used in the murder.
Regalado, who was separately charged with murder, was convicted on March 7 and was meted out a life sentence. Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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