Updated: Killers nabbed in journo death
MANILA, Feb. 7 – The mastermind in the cold-blooded murder of broadcast journalist Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega may soon be unmasked with the surrender of another suspect, authorities said.
The suspect identified as Rodolfo Edrad, alias “Junjun Bumas, a former Philippine Marine soldier, surrendered to Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn at the boundary of Gumaca and Plaridel towns in Quezon province some 200 kilometers southwest of Manila over the weekend.
Hagedorn said Edrad is vital in pinpointing the mastermind in the killing of Ortega, an outspoken commentator of radio DWAR based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan some 600 kilometers southwest of Manila.
The police had earlier filed murder charges against five suspects in the broad-daylight killing of Ortega.
Ortega was the 142 Filipino journalist killed since 1986.
Original story published January 28, 2011.
MANILA –The brutal killing of a fiery Filipino broadcast journalist was believed solved following the filing of murder charges against five suspects, including the gunman and a lawyer, the registered owner of the gun used in the fatal shooting.
Superintendent Rolando Amurao, director of the Puerto Princesa City police, identified the respondents as lawyer Romeo Seratubias,, former administrator of the Palawan provincial government, gunman Marlon De Camata, Dennis Aranas, Noel Armando, and a certain Bumar.
Seratubias was included in the complaint because he was the registered owner of the .45 caliber pistol used in the killing of Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega, a hard-hitting commentator of radio DWAR and a known environmentalist advocate.
During the investigation, Seratubias said he sold the gun to one Percival Lecias last Jan. 15 and showed a “deed of sale” written on a yellow pad paper, Amurao said.
But Lecias told investigators that he merely facilitated the sale of the handgun between Seratubias and the buyer, whom he did not know personally.
Another thing, Amurao said, Seratubias “failed to inform the Firearms and Explosives Division abut the sale of the gun, thus the firearm remains registered under his name (Seratubias).”
Registration of the sale of firearm is required under Philippine law. Amurao said Seratubias could just give his defense during the trial.
Seratubias was the former aide of ex-Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes, whose administration the slain broadcaster had slammed for corruption, authorities said.
Amurao said the former governor would be called for questioning on the killing of Ortega who was shot last Monday inside a used clothing store in Puerto Princesa City some 600 kilometers southwest of Manila.
People scampered to safety when a shot rang out.
Amurao tagged De Camata as the gunman, while Aranas was the lookout, and Armando was the alleged contact of the two in carrying out the attack.
De Camata was reportedly given an initial amount of P20,000 (US$450) out of the total contract price allegedly amounting to P150,000 (US$3500).
Police arrested De Camata while trying to escape.
De Camata is the 142nd Filipino journalist killed since 1986 and the second to be murdered under the Aquino government.