Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Initial Triumph of Press Freedom in Doc Gerry murder

Initial Triumph of Press Freedom
(Corrects the mistake of reporting ex-gov of Palawan was arrested; 
ALAM apologizes to the public for the inconvenience)


Doc Gerry Ortega

 Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) Chairman Jerry Yap and ALAM president Atty. Berteni “Toto” Cataluña Causing hailed the arrest of former Palawan provincial administrator Atty. Romeo Serratubias who was charged in court along with ex-governor Joel T. Reyes, the one tagged as the “brains” behind the act of murdering broadcaster Dr. Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega as an “initial triumph of press freedom.”

Meanwhile, ALAM apologizes to the public for the faux pas (kuryente) that took place when it reported hours earlier that the former governor was arrested quoting Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Mimaropa Director Supt. Nastario Fernandez.
Ex-Gov. Joel T. Reyes of Palawan


The mistake was a result of over-eagerness and excitement on the part of the staffers and officers of ALAM combined with the miscommunication when the group's reporter-in-charge interviewed the police officials concerned.

The arrest of Serratubias came a day after the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa and Palawan, Branch 52, issued the warrant directing the arrest of the former Palawan governor, Mayor Mario Joel T. Reyes Jr. of Coron town in Palawan, and Serratubias.
Also ordered arrested were Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias.
This arrest of Serratubias that occurred while he was taking dinner at his house in Puerto Princesa was the result of the more than a year of struggle in the search for justice for the murder that took place inside an ukay-ukay store in Puerto Princesa City on January 24, 2011.
From the start, ALAM gave full support for the search for justice along with Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (AFIMA) and the National Press Club (NPC), by writing letters to the Department of Justice and issuing press statements pressuring the prosecutors to resolve the preliminary investigation quickly.
ALAM chairman Yap and ALAM president Causing


Nastario also said that Serratubias has already been taken to their custody. 
The pistol that was used in killing Ortega turned out to be registered in the name of Serratubias, who at first said he already sold the gun prior the occurrence of the murder.
It is interesting that Serratubias submitted a yellow pad receipt to the police investigators of Puerto Princesa to prove that he already sold the gun a few days before Ortega was killed.
ALAM president Causing pointed out that the claim of Serratubias is incredible because any ordinary lawyer is very diligent in notarizing documents of sale when it comes to selling a gun registered in the lawyer’s name, knowing that ownership registration will point to the lawyer the responsibility for the use of the gun. 
In the case of Serratubias, Causing pointed out that aside from the fact that it was handwritten on a yellow pad, the alleged receipt was not notarized.
 
“In selling, it is the buyer who holds the receipt to prove payment. Why is it that Serratubias was the one holding the receipt? Then, any lawyer cannot permit documentation of the sale of a gun if the lawyer owned the gun to be sold. This pinned Serratubias to the murder,” Causing said.
ALAM chairman Yap noted that the motive behind the murder was to eliminate the criticism and exposes on the mining grants issued during the term of Reyes and on the selling out of the rights of Palawan in the Malampaya natural gas utilization.
During his lifetime, Ortega had been pointing out repeatedly the anomalies over his radio program.
Meanwhile, Yap and Causing are asking police authorities to exert more efforts for the arrest of other suspects in the murder.
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