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A million signatures for Gerry Ortega


MANILA, Philippines—The birthday of slain Palawan broadcaster Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega is three days away, on Aug. 28, 2011. His gunman is in jail, but the Department of Justice has dismissed the case against the alleged mastermind behind his death—former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes.

A million signatures aim to change this.

Gina Lopez, managing director of the ABS-CBN Foundation, proposed the one million-signature campaign during the roundtable discussion organized by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Lopez worked with Ortega in environmental programs in canadian pharmacy online doctor Palawan.

“We have to mobilize the Filipino public,” she said. cialis edmonton

The campaign will be launched on Ortega’s birthday. It aims to increase the pressure on the DOJ to re-investigate the case, after a DOJ prosecution panel issued a resolution in June dismissing the charges against Reyes due to lack of evidence.

Reyes was implicated as the mastermind behind Ortega’s death by the self-confessed “team leader” of the operation, Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr.

Ortega had asked Reyes in his radio canadian pharmacy commentaries to come clean on what happened to the P3.1-billion worth of proceeds from the Malampaya natural gas project. The funds constitute the share of Palawan’s provincial government in the P90-billion worth of revenues that the national government got from the gas project.

The DOJ also junked the charges against the following: former Marinduque Gov. Antonio Carrion, who allegedly referred Edrad to Reyes, and Coron Mayor Marjo Reyes, Reyes’s brother. The resolution, issued on June 8, 2011, was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog, Assistant State Prosecutor Bryan Jacinto Cacha and lawyer John Benedict Medina.

Ortega’s wife, Patty, filed a motion for reconsideration in July. The DOJ has yet to issue a decision on the motion.

If the DOJ rules against their favor, Ortega’s family could file a motion for re-investigation. Otherwise, the charges against Reyes would not be brought to court.

Ortega, news anchor and commentator of Palawan’s dwAR radio station, was the 142nd Filipino journalist killed since 1986, according to the NUJP. Rowena Paraan, secretary-general of the NUJP, said that the total number of media killings has now reached 146, five of which happened under the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

Lawyer Al Parreño said, however, that Ortega’s case belongs to one percent of 309 cases of extrajudicial killings in the country which are considered “relatively successful” because the perpetrators were caught.

Cases with similar developments included that of Marlene Garcia-Esperat, the whistleblower in the P728-million fertilizer zoloft and cialis scam who was gunned down in 2005, Fernando Batul, a radio commentator with DZRH and DYPR in Palawan who was shot in 2006 and barangay captain Eleuterio Salabas, who was kidnapped and killed with two others in 2003 by police officers in Bacolod. The masterminds of these killings have never been brought to justice, like in Ortega’s case.

Ortega’s alleged gunman, Marlon Recamata, was caught in January.

Parreño said that cases of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines take 5 years, 2 months and 11 days to be resolved, but he emphasized that some cases do not even reach the court. He said that the problem lies in the investigation and prosecution of cases.

This is the bottleneck in Ortega’s case. “The problem is with the executive… masyadong arbitrary,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said. Pabillo and Ortega had worked on anti-mining campaigns. “Na-de-delay sa pagsampa sa court. ‘Yung DOJ, sa halip na makatulong sa justice, ‘yun ang pumipigil sa justice. Malaki ang pakialam ng ehekutibo sa judiciary,” he added. (The case was delayed because of the executive. The DOJ, instead of helping bring online cialis paypal about justice, is now an obstacle to it.)

Meanwhile, DOJ Sec. Leila De Lima has said that she will inhibit from Ortega’s case because Reyes was her former client when she was still an election lawyer.—Newsbreak




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