Individuals and groups seeking justice for slain journalist Gerry Ortega gathered this morning at the Court of Appeals to request the appellate court’s denial of petitions filed by former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
The petitions, filed at the CA’s Seventh and Fifteenth Divisions, are aimed at dismissing the charges against the Reyes brothers, two of the primary suspects in the killing.
“[W]e urge the CA to hold its ground against injustice and impunity, to see to it that the Reyes brothers face the allegations against them in the court of law,to stand firm against any maneuvering done by the brothers and its allies,” said Michaella Ortega, Gerry’s daughter, in a statement she read during the rally.
With the 40th anniversary of Martial Law approaching, Michaella noted how impunity has remained even after the Marcos dictatorship, with advocates like his father still being killed “during a time of supposed peace, during a time of democracy.”
“Impunity does not need an authoritarian rule in order to reign. All it requires is for people in government to turn a blind eye,” she added.
Sept. 24 will mark the 20th month since the killing of Gerry Ortega (see timeline).
On Mar. 12, 2012, a review panel formed by the Justice Department 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 dismissed the charges filed against the 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 the two have fled the country on Mar. 18, aboard a Vietnam-bound Cebu Pacific plane. Joel Reyes allegedly used an authentic password using the name Joseph Lim Pe.
Groups that participated include the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos), First Quarter Storm Movement, Kalikasan-People’s Network for Environment, and Hustisya.
See photos from the protest action below: