On the day ALAM demanded, DOJ decided to charge Palawan ex-gov, mayor, prov'l admin in killing Doc Gerry

On the day ALAM demanded, DOJ decided to charge Palawan ex-gov, mayor, prov'l admin in killing Doc Gerry

             On the day Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) wrote Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Chief State Prosecutor Jovito Zunio to demand the resolution of the reinvestigation into the case of slaying broadcaster Doctor "Doc Gerry" Ortega on January 24, 2011 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the DOJ announced it resolved to charge former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes.

             On the day the demand was filed, the resolution was said to have been signed and put out ruling there was probable cause to file a murder case against the former governor, incumbent Coron Mayor Mario Joel T. Reyes and former Palawan provincial administrator Atty. Romeo Serratubias.

             Former Marinduque governor Antonio Carrion was absolved, however, despite the fact that it was established that he was the boss of Jun Bomar, the man who confessed to have been tasked by Carrion to talk to Joel T. Reyes because the latter wanted to give Bomar the job of finding for a gunman to kill Doc Gerry.

             With the resolution out, the two Reyeses and Serratubias were added as accused to the earlier persons already charged as accused along with the gunman, Marlon Recamata, Bomar and two others who worked in tandem with Bomar and Recamata to accomplish the death contract.

             The letter is reproduced below:
Ground Floor, National Press Club Bldg., No. 1 Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila

March 13, 2012


Department of Justice

- and -

Chief State Prosecutor
National Prosecution Service
Department of Justice

Dear Honorable De Lima and Honorable Arellano,

            The National Press Club insists the interest of the People of the Philippines, the State and the Liberty of the Press is too compelling.         

It posits that a clear transcendental importance involved must be sufficient to warrant giving premium to the interest of the People, the State and the Press to sacrifice the interest of private persons accused as the masterminds in a murder case.

The case of Ortega symbolizes the struggle of the Liberty of the Press that was among the first rights demanded by heroes, Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Juan Luna, Andres Bonifacio and others, when they bravely spent their best lives if only the country called Philippines would be given birth.

The Katipuneros won the precious Prenza Libre at so dear a cost: with the lives of the forefathers.

            With the above considerations It becomes more compelling to bring the issue on Ortega to the court when this scenario is coupled with the fact that probability is so great that the accused are guilty, even if there is the perceived evidence exclusionary rule that stands in the way.

The NPC stands on the wisdom that the exclusionary evidence rule on extrajudicial confession with respect to the connection between the gunmen and the principal by inducement does not apply in a proceeding whose purpose is only for the purpose of determining probable cause.    The issue of whether the alleged mastermind should be bound by the extrajudicial confession is a matter for the court to determine in a full-blown trial.

            The strong interest of the Liberty of the Press in the case of Doctor Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega lies in the fact that this could be the first ever that pinpointed masterminds could be tried among the hundreds of acts of killing journalists recorded to date in our country, including the massacre of 32 or 33 newsmen on November 23, 2009.

            This is not to talk about the case of Marlene Esparat in Tacurong City years ago where the masterminds were also pinpointed but the wings of justice have remained clipped because, as gathered by the NPC, the brains were even promoted in the Department of Agriculture.

            But what sets apart the case of Doc Gerry is that the biggest fish so far are the ones pinpointed. This opportunity that will shape the future of the Press in the next generations should not be let to pass away.

            The NPC also noted the petitions for certiorari filed by the respondents. The NPC therefore exhorts the DOJ and the National State Prosecutor to disregard the same and let the criminal information be filed in the proper court as soon as possible.

            The NPC also looks at this matter as one with grave State importance.  It affects the very security of the State.  The revolting conscience calls must be evidence of clear and present danger that is enough to justify that this case be filed in the court, ASAP.

            Thank you.

                                                                                                Respectfully yours,

                                                                                                BERTENI C. CAUSING
                                                                                                President, ALAM

                                                                                                JERRY S. YAP
                                                                                                Chairman, ALAM
                                                                                                President, National Press Club
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