A year after Palawan broadcaster’s killing
killers now, human rights groups say
QUEZON CITY – “Dr.
Gerry Ortega had the interest of the people of
Palawan at heart and he died defending them. The Aquino government
can do no less than give Dr. Ortega the justice he and the people
This was the message
brought by human rights advocates and families of victims of human
rights violations at the Department of Justice today on the first year
of the killing of Palawan broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
wife, Patty, and their four children are in
Palawan for a Mass held in Ortega’s grave. There will also be a
candlelighting activity in the afternoon.
“Ang bagal ng hustisya
sa Pilipinas. Isang taon na, nag-uumapaw ang ebidensya, hindi pa rin
masampahan ng kaso ang itinuturong mastermind sa pagpatay kay Daddy
(Justice is too slow. Amid overwhelming evidence, a year after, a case
has yet to be filed against the mastermind in Daddy’s killing),” said
Micaella Ortega, eldest daughter of Ortega.
continued delay of the release of a DOJ resolution, Hustisya,
organization of victims of human rights violations, said they are
disappointed that a strong case such as that of Ortega remains
unsolved after 12 months.
“Not all cases have
the same strong evidence against the mastermind and Ortega’s killers.
We have hoped that the evidence presented in Ortega’s killing may
speed up the resolution of the case. However, the snail-paced progress
of the prosecution further perpetuates impunity because the
perpetrators remain on the loose,” Hustisya secretary general Cristina
At the DOJ preliminary
investigation, the gunman and the other suspects involved have
implicated former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes in Ortega’s killing. In the
first preliminary investigation, however, Reyes was not included in
the respondents of the case. The family then appealed for a
reinvestigation of the case, seeking to include Reyes.
“We need to prosecute
criminals such as those implicated in the case of Dr. Ortega. They do
not only kill environmental defenders. With their greed to further
profit themselves at the expense of the environment, they destroy and
kill more people.” she said.
Apart from being
involved in corruption issues in the province such as the misuse of
Malampaya funds, and his connection with former president Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, Reyes is also known to promote mining in the
province, which Ortega and the people of Palawan have strongly
“If the Aquino
government can hasten the impeachment of a crony of former president
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Supreme Court, it should by all means
do the same in prosecuting all her other minions,” Guevarra concluded.