NPC ‘dismayed’ over CA ruling in Ortega murder case

The National Press Club (NPC) today expressed dismay over a ruling of the Court of Appeals declaring as “null and void” the finding of a panel formed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) linking former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother to the murder last year of Puerto Princesa City broadcaster, Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega.

“This ruling quashed all hopes that Doc. Gerry would be finally given justice while also putting into doubt the DOJ’s credibility to resolve cases of extra-judicial killings in general and assault on members of the press in particular,” Benny Antiporda, NPC president said.

According to the CA, DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima committed “grave abuse of discretion” and violated its own procedures when she created another review panel in September last year that indicted Reyes and his brother, Coron mayor, Mario Reyes, for the murder of Ortega, after the first DOJ panel probing the case has absolved them.

“While we also lament the fact that the CA resorted to legal technicalities to settle the issue in favour of the suspects, it also glaringly showed the haphazard manner by which the DOJ handled Doc Gerry’s murder case.

“Relating this development to the bigger picture of extra-judicial killings (EJK) in general that the Aquino administration said it wants to be solved with the creation of a new ‘human rights superbody,’ participation therein by the DOJ can only raise fear and apprehension on the part of the media and the families of the victims,” Antiporda added.

Despite the CA ruling, Antiporda assured the family of Ortega that the NPC would “continue with its unwavering support” until justice for his death is achieved.

“At the same time, the NPC would also support any suit that they intend to file against those DOJ officials who completely bungled this case,” Antiporda said.

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