The assassination of Doc Gerry Ortega (Part 2)
THIS IS a continuation of the confessions of some of the accused in the assassination of Dr. Gerry Ortega as summarized by the three-man team of prosecutors that conducted the preliminary investigation. This is the confession of Rodolfo Edrad Jr. alias “Bumar”:
On Jan. 15, 2011, Edrad went to Armando Noel’s house in Pagbilao, Quezon, where he met Marlon Recamata. They discussed the plot. Edrad promised to pay Noel and Recamata P150,000 each and gave them a down payment of P10,000 each. He told them to leave the next day for Puerto Princesa and get from Regalado a .45 caliber pistol.
On Jan. 24, 2011 Edrad received from Regalado a text message saying, “Todas na.” A little later, Edrad received from him two more text messages: “Huli yung tirador” and “Dalawa yung nahuli.” Recamata, the triggerman, had been captured.
Noel, in his extra-judicial confession dated Feb. 13, 2011, said that on Jan. 24, 2011, he received text messages from Edrad that Doc Gerry had been shot and that Recamata had been arrested. Edrad told him to meet him in Lucena, which he did, along with Arandia. The following day, Edrad gave them P20,000 each, after which he accompanied them aboard a van to Padre Burgos, Quezon, where they parted. He went into hiding in Donsol, Sorsogon.
On Feb. 10, 2011, he surrendered and was brought to Camp Nakar in Lucena and was subsequently transferred to NBI, Lucena, then to NBI, Manila.
Aranas, in his extra-judicial confession dated Feb. 22, 2011, said that on Jan. 16, 2011, he met with Recamata, Noel and Arandia in Pagbilao where he was told of the plot to kill Doc Gerry.
After the killing, Aranas received through Smart Padala P50,000. On Jan. 27, he surrendered in Coron, Palawan. The next day they brought him to Camp Nakar and had him fingerprinted, photographed and medically examined. The next day, he was transferred to Puerto Princesa.
Arandia, in his extrajudicial confession dated Feb. 28, 2011, said that in December 2010, Edrad told him of a plot to kill Doc Gerry and asked him to look for a companion. He went to Noel’s house and told him of the plot. In mid-December, Edrad gave Arandia and Noel P20,000 each and three photographs of Doc Gerry. Edrad handed them two guns, a .45 caliber pistol and a .357 caliber pistol and bullets. They left for Puerto Princesa, but on Dec. 20, 2010 they told Edrad they could not do the job, and Edrad demanded the return of the money he gave them.
On Jan. 24, 2011, Noel came to Arandia’s house and told him that Aranas had sent him a text message that Doc Gerry was shot on the morning of the same day. Edrad gave the two of them P20,000 each. Arandia then went into hiding.
Former Governors Joel Reyes and Jose Carrion, Mayor Mario Reyes, Romeo Seratubias, Arturo Regalado and Valentin Lecias filed separate counter-affidavits vehemently denying the accusations.
Governor Reyes said Edrad was never a security aide of his, and denied that he gave Edrad P150,000 at Marriott Hotel in December 2010, and that he gave him another P100,000 on Jan. 8, 2011 at his mother-in-law’s house in Dasmariñas Village, Makati. He also denied giving Edrad P500,000 through his brother Mario Reyes, at the latter’s residence in Ayala, Alabang, alleging that he merely gave him P5,000 as financial assistance to pay a debt.
Carrion also denied the accusations, saying that while Edrad had been a security aide of his, he never had any conversation with him regarding any plot to kill two media people.
Mayor Reyes, brother of Governor Reyes, denied having given Edrad P500,000 on Jan. 24, 2011, alleging that he gave Edrad only P5,000.
Seratubias, the former provincial administrator of Palawan, denied any participation in the killing of Doc Gerry, saying that he merely sold the gun used in the killing to Lecias for P20,000. He said that he had no knowledge that the gun would be used in the killing of Doc Gerry.
Regalado said that his participation was limited to procuring the .45 caliber pistol used in the killing, through Lecias, and delivering the .38 caliber bullets to Arandia on Edrad’s request, believing Edrad’s representations that they would be used in a farm and without knowing that they were to be used in the commission of a crime.
When he learned that Doc Gerry had been shot, Regalado said, he decided to go to the NBI and cooperate in the investigation. He denied that he assisted Noel and Arandia in conducting surveillance on Doc Gerry in Puerto Princesa in December 2010, and that he sent Edrad text messages that Doc Gerry had been shot and that the gunman had been arrested.
Lecias denied having participated in the conspiracy, claiming that he merely got the .45 caliber pistol from Seratubias upon the request of Regalado and delivered it to him without knowing that it would be used in the commission of a crime.
The DOJ team believed the confessions with regard to their participation in the crime but did not believe the same confessions with regard to the participation of the alleged masterminds and the other conspirators. It found probable cause against Edrad, Noel, Aranas and Arandia, but dismissed charges against Governors Reyes and Carrion, Mayor Reyes, Seratubias, Regalado, and Lecias for insufficiency of evidence. The four accused are all residents of Quezon, while all the Palawan residents were cleared.
The question now is, if Reyes and Carrion were not the masterminds, who were? The four Quezon residents would not have done the crime on their own. Who gave them the money for expenses? What was the motive for the assassination? Who had the motive? The DOJ resolution left so many questions unanswered.