MANILA, June 14, 2011â€” The Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that there was no evidence that would implicate former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes to the killing of anti-mining broadcaster Gerry Ortega last January.
Now the bishop of Puerto Princesa, Pedro Arigo, is asking the community to help send a message to the DOJ.
â€œThe whole Palawan will shout against it! We are definitely going to hold a protest anytime soon,â€ Arigo said. â€œThatâ€™s really a big blow to the family (of Ortega).â€
â€œWhat kind of justice system do we have? That decision is really a big miscarriage of justice,â€ he lamented.
In a 21-page resolution dated June 8, the DOJ panel has cleared Reyes, who was accused of masterminding the killing of Ortega, a hard-hitting broadcaster in Palawan.
Citing similar reason, criminal charges of other respondents, namely: former Marinduque Gov. Jose Carreon; former Palawan provincial administrator Romeo Serratubias; Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes, and suspects Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias were also dismissed.
The DOJ panel, however, recommended the filing of murder charges against Rodolfo Edrad Jr., a former close-in security aide of Joel Reyes and Carreon; suspects Armando Noel, Dennis Aranas, and Arwin Arandia.
Ortega was shot in the head last January 24 inside a used-clothing shop in Puerto Princesa. The gunman was arrested.
Ortega was a known hard-hitting critic of mining operators and mining supporters in his radio program, â€œRamatakâ€.
Prior to his killing, Ortega was coordinating a project with the â€œSave Palawan Movementâ€ which gathers at least ten million signatures to call for a total mining ban in Palawan.
Arigo believes that the broadcasterâ€™s murder was related to his stand against mining projects in the province.
Ortega had reportedly been receiving death threats since late 2009, when his radio program on dwAR went back on air.
Arigo said Ortegaâ€™s murder was a great loss to the PalaweÃ±os. He was â€œa man who has dedicated his life to making Palawan a better place to live in,â€ he said.
The incident also spurred Church leaders and civil society groups to strengthen their campaign against mining in the province. (CBCPNews)