The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines joins the family, friends and supporters of slain journalist Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega as they stage a picket rally tomorrow (Sept. 10) at the Court of Appeals in Manila.
Groups seeking justice for the slain journalist will stage the picket to urge the appellate court to stand its ground against petitions filed by former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, alleged masterminds in the killing of Gerry, environmentalist and media colleague.
“We hope you can help my family find justice by letting our story be heard. It has been said that evil thrives in the dark and spreads in silence. And so we must shed light and make some noise,” said Gerry’s daughter Michella Ortega in a text message.
On Aug. 30, the Ortegas revealed they received word “that the family and supporters of the fugitive [Reyes] brothers are doing everything and anything possible to get a favorable decision from the Court of Appeals.”
Pending before the appellate court’s 7th and 15th Divisions are motions seeking for temporary restraining order against murder charges filed against Joel and Mario Reyes, respectively. Also pending, in the 15th Division, is a petition for certiorari, or judicial review, filed by Mario Reyes questioning the decision of the Departmen of Justice (DoJ) to file murder charges against him.
On Mar. 12, 2012, a review panel formed by the DoJ ruled to file murder charges against the Reyes brothers, former Marinduque Gov. Jose Antonio Carrion, Arturo Regalado, Atty. Romeo Serratubias, and Percival Lecias, finding probable cause. This came nine months after the first panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayo dismissed the charges filed against the six alleged masterminds.
The day after, Mar. 13, the DoJ issued a “Lookout Bulletin”, instructing immigration officers to bar any attempt by Reyes brothers to leave the country.
However, reports surfaced that Joel and Marjo Reyes have left the country on Mar. 18, aboard a Cebu Pacific Flight 5J751 bound to Vietnam. Joel Reyes allegedly used an authentic password using the name Joseph Lim Pe.
Gerry was killed inside a clothes store in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Jan. 24, 2011, shortly after his last broadcast on local station dwAR.
Gunman Marlon Recamata was arrested on the day the crime happened. In March 2011, Rodolfo “Bomar” Edrad, former close-in security aide of Carrion, surrendered, implicating the Reyes brothers, Carrion, Regalado, Serratubias, and Lecias in the crime.
Rowena C. Paraan