NUJP hails conviction of Ortega murder plotter

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines welcomes the conviction of Arturo “Nonoy” Regalado, the close-in aide of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, for his role in the murder of broadcaster, environmentalist and good governance advocate Gerardo Ortega.

The conviction of Regalado, who was the one who purchased the gun used in the Ortega murder from former provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias, closes another link in the conspiracy that state witness Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr. has established and that leads all the way to Joel Reyes and his brother Mario.

Like his former boss, Regalado initially went into hiding when he was ordered arrested by the court. But unlike his former boss, he later decided to surrender.

In contrast, the Reyes brothers fled the country under dubious circumstances, with the help of crooked immigration agents, days before the warrant for their arrest could be issued; then spent the next three years whooping it up in Phuket, Thailand, on fake identities until they were arrested and deported back to the country in September last year.

With the conviction of Regalado, we look forward to the day the case against the Reyes brothers shall have been finally decided, and justice given to Gerry Ortega, his family and the people of Palawan whom he served.

It is a rare instance when the masterminds to a journalist’s murder are actually convicted; more than a hundred other media murders since 1986 remain unsolved, a poignant narrative that, sadly, encourages the perpetuation of the culture of impunity that has claimed thousands of lives in our country.

We thank and congratulate all those who tirelessly worked to ensure that the Ortega murder would not be consigned to oblivion, where the deaths of many of our colleagues are, seemingly, preferably kept by government apathy and inaction.

—RYAN D. ROSAURO, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines,