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Ortega's wife asks DOJ to charge ex-Palawan gov, 5 others

July 1, 2011 11:29am

Patria Gloria "Patty" Ortega asked the Department of Justice on Friday to include former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and five others among the accused in the killing of her husband, hard-hitting broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

A DOJ panel led by Senior Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog has previously cleared Reyes, former Marinduque Gov. Jose Carreon; former Palawan provincial administrator Romeo Serratubias; Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes, and suspects Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias.

The panel, however, found probable cause to file murder charges against suspects Rodolfo "Bumar" Edrad Jr., a former close-in security aide of Carreon; suspects Armando Noel, Dennis Aranas, and Arwin Arandia.

In a 47-page motion for reconsderation, Patria asked the panel to recommend the filing of charges against Reyes and the five other men who were absolved by the panel due to lack of evidence.

She also said Edrad should be discharged and made into a state witness against Reyes and the other respondets.

Patria argued that DOJ should have also charged the masterminds behind her husband's killing, and not just the "pawns" who served as "accessories" to the crime.

"In resolving the instant complaint, the panel erroneously discharged the masterminds and principals by indispensable cooperation while recommending the indictment of their pawns whse participation in the murder were merely at best as accessories," said Patria in her appeal.

On January 24, Ortega was gunned down in Puerto Princesa City after his radio program for the day. Ortega, 47, was the main news anchor and commentator of Radyo Mo Nationwide's (RMN)'s Palawan station dwAR.

Ortega's wife has claimed that Joel Reyes may have ordered the killing because of her husband's vocal anti-mining advocacy.

But in a resolution issued last June 14, the DOJ panel said that Edrad's extrajudicial confession that Reyes was involved in the killing was insufficient to warrant the filing of murder charges against the former Palawan governor.

"The alleged conversations between Gov. Reyes and Edrad that purport to show that the former masterminded the killing of Doc Gerry; the alleged payment to Edrad by Gov. Reyes of P15,000 in Marriott Hotel on 4 July 2010 and P100,00 in Dasmarinas Village on 8 January 2011; and the alleged payment by respondent Mayor Reyes to Edrad of P500,000 in Ayala Alabang on request of Gov. Reyes rest solely on the statements of Edrad in his extrajudicial confession, and no independent evidence corroborates all such statements," said the DOJ panel. — RSJ, GMA News
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