Alleged gunman, 4 others charged for killing of broadcaster

[Original title: Alleged gunman, 4 others charged for killing of Filipino broadcaster. Source: CMFR]

The alleged gunman in the killing of a Palawan-based broadcaster faced inquest proceedings last 26 January 2011.  Palawan province is 592 kilometers south of Manila.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) filed murder charges against Marlon Recamata (named in initial reports as Marvin Alcaraz) for the killing of Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega last 24 January 2011. Ortega, a broadcaster with Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) dwAR, was in a thrift clothing store when the gunman shot him.

The police also filed murder charges against four more persons in connection with Ortega’s murder: former provincial administrator and lawyer Romeo Seratubias, Dennis Aranas, Armando Noel Loria, and Rodolfo Edrad Jr. (also known as Jun-Jun Bomar).

Seratubias was an aide of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, of whom Ortega had been critical over his radio program. Seratubias was the original owner of the gun Recamata is alleged to have used in the killing. Seratubias denied still owning the gun, and told the Manila daily Philippine Daily Inquirer that he sold it to a Percival Lesias last 15 January 2011.

The “Philippine Star” reported that an Arturo “Nonoy” Regalado bought the gun from Lesias.

Meanwhile, Recamata identified Loria and Edrad as the persons who hired him and Aranas to kill Ortega for a fee of P150,000 (about USD 3500). The “Inquirer” reported last 1 February 2011 that Edrad, a former Marine officer, was a security aide of former Marinduque province Gov. Jose Antonio Carreon.

The “Inquirer” quoted Puerto Princesa City police chief Senior Supt. Rolando Amurao last 26 January 2011 as saying that Edrad ordered Regalado to buy the gun. Regalado was allegedly also an aide of Reyes.

His family and colleagues believe Ortega’s death was linked to his commentaries on local governance and environmental issues in the province. Ortega, who also worked with ABS-CBN Foundation’s BayaniJuan project, had actively campaigned against mining in Palawan.

Ortega is the second journalist killed in the line of duty under the new Benigno Aquino III administration. One hundred and nineteen (119) journalists and media workers have been killed in the line of duty in the Philippines since 1986.

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CMFR (http://www.cmfr-phil.org) is a SEAPA founding member based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical journalism and to protect press freedom.