Duterte admin urged: Resolve Ortega case, address envi advocate slays
Various groups on Tuesday called on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to fast-track the resolve of environmental martyr Dr. Gerry Ortega’s murder case and address the spate of environmental-related killings, as they gathered to commemorate Ortega’s 6th year death anniversary.
“Six years after Ortega’s brutal murder, not one of the 108 cases of environment-related killings we recorded since 2001 has been sufficiently resolved,”Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) Coordinator Clemente Bautista said in a statement.
They also called for hastening the imprisonment of the mastermind behind Ortega’s murder.
The monitoring of Task Force – Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED), a network of families and supporters of environmental advocates, showed that only 10 cases were already recorded under the current administration out of 108 cases.
Bautista said that environment secretary Gina Lopez last year promised to help the probing of killings of environment defenders, but the current administration has done nothing to address the increasing cases of impunity.
“Almost half the recorded cases involve suspected government forces, so the Duterte administration must hold accountable its military, paramilitary and police personnel,” Bautista said.
Ortega, who was a wildlife veterinarian, environmentalist and journalist in Palawan, was killed in January 2011. Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother ex-Coron Mayor Mario were alleged to be behind the killing over Ortega’s disclosure on the corruption happening in the Provincial government of Palawan.
At present, Mario Reyes was released on bail while Joel Reyes has remained in jail.
“The Duterte admin should act on Ortega’s murder as an impetus to show sincerity in resolving the cases of environmental killings. Alarming increase in the number of environmentalists killed will not halt if the culture of impunity will continue to persist in our country,” Bautista added. JE
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