The Philippines Department of Justice must uphold Murder Charges Against Former Governor and Mayor

The International Federation of Journalists stands in solidarity

with its affiliate The National Union of Journalists and the family, friends

and supporters of murdered journalist and environmental activist Gerardo

“Gerry” Ortega as they stage a rally today, September 10, in front of the Court

of Appeals, Manila.

Human Rights, media and civil society groups seeking justice for

the slain journalist will stage a rally urging the appellate court to reject

petitions filed by former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and Mayor Mario Reyes

–alleged masterminds in the killing of Gerry Ortega - to drop the murder

charges against them.

“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 March 12, 2012, a review panel formed by the Department of

Justice (DoJ) ruled to file murder charges against the Reyes brothers, former

Marinduque Governor Jose Antonio Carrion, Arturo Regalado, Atty. Romeo

Serratubias, and Percival Lecias. 

The day after, March 13, the DoJ issued a “Lookout Bulletin”,

instructing immigration officers to look out for the Reyes brothers in case

they attempted to flee the country. 

Despite this, reports surfaced that Joel and Mario Reyes left

the Philippines on March 18, aboard a Cebu Pacific Flight 5J751 bound for Vietnam.

Joel Reyes allegedly used an authentic passport with the name Joseph Lim Pe.

Joel and Mario Reyes filed petitions through the Court of

Appeals 7th and 15th Divisions seeking a temporary restraining order on the

arrest warrants and murder charges filed against them. Also pending is a

petition filed by Mario Reyes, for a judicial review of the decision of the

Department of Justice (DoJ) to file murder charges against him. 

On August 30, the Ortegas revealed that they had received word

“that the family and supporters of the fugitive [Reyes] brothers are doing

everything and anything possible to ensure a favorable decision from the Court

of Appeals.”

Gerry Ortega

was killed inside a clothes store in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on January 24,

2011, shortly after his last broadcast on local station dwAR.  In March, Rodolfo

“Bomar” Edrad, former security aide of Carrion, surrendered, implicating the

Reyes brothers in the crime.

 

“Gerry Ortega’s death,

like those of his colleagues before him, must not go unpunished. The IFJ

implores the Philippines Department of Justice, to uphold the initial

indictments against the Reyes brothers, to bring those responsible for Ortega’s

murder to justice, and break the cycle of impunity that has plagued the country

for so long,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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