Ex-Palawan guv, 5 others absolved in radioman's death

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


MANILA (Updated 11:38 a.m.) -- Government prosecutors dismissed criminal charges filed against former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and five others in the killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega last January.

In a 21-page resolution dated June 8, the Department of Justice panel of prosecutors absolved Reyes, former Marinduque governor Jose Carreon; former Palawan provincial administrator Romeo Serratubias; Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes; and suspects Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias.

Ortega, 47, a radio commentator in Palawan, was killed on January 24 after his daily morning program on Radyo Mo Nationwide (RMN).

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The panel found probable cause to charge with murder Rodolfo "Bumar" Edrad Jr., a former aide of Reyes and Carreon; Armando Noel; Dennis Aranas; and Arwin Arandia.

"Wherefore, this panel of prosecutors finds probable cause for murder against Rodolfo Edrad Jr., Armando Noel, Dennis Aranas, and Arwin Arandia. The complaint against Gov. Mario Joel T. Reyes, Jose Antonio N. Carrion, Mayor Mario T. Reyes, Atty Romeo Serratubias, Arturo Regalado, and Percival B. Lecias is dismissed for insufficiency of evidence," the Justice panel said.

The DOJ panel was headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog, with Assistant State Prosecutors John Benedict Medina and Bryan Cacha as members.

Ortega was a former Palawan provincial board member and a staunch critic of the provincial administration and the activities of mining companies in the province.

His daughter, Michaella, earlier said her father had been receiving death threats since his program went back on air in late 2009.

Patricia, Ortega's wife, had accused Reyes to be the mastermind of the killing because of her husband’s anti-mining position. (Sunnex)

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