By EUGENE FERNANDEZ
MANILA – Filipino journalists continue their search for justice for slain journalist and environmentalist Gerry Ortega, 11 years after he was gunned down in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
In a statement by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the group said the alleged mastermind behind Ortega’s killing, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, has yet to be held to account yet running for public office again.
“Reyes, convicted for graft, was released from prison due to still unclear reasons. What is clear is that due to a Court of Appeals directive in 2019, the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa had released an arrest warrant against him for murder,” the NUJP said.
The NUJP said Reyes’s bid to run for governor adds to the “impunity that has surrounded attacks against journalists as well as land and rights defenders.”
As part of NUJPs campaign commemorating Ortega’s 11th death anniversary, the group encouraged netizens to post an image calling for justice, with hashtags #JailJoelReyes #JusticeForGerryOrtega, and #EndImpunity.
As part of our campaign, let's post this image on our social media accounts.
— NUJP (@nujp) January 24, 2022
“As we commemorate Doc Gerry’s death, we call on voters to junk candidates who violated press freedom and challenge all candidates to respect and uphold the people’s right to access relevant and timely information as well as their right to criticize government policies and practices,” the NUJP said.
Ortega was killed on Jan. 24, 2011, and is among the cases of journalist killings that have yet to be resolved and masterminds held to account.