Ortega family on the gunman’s conviction

A statement from Michaella Ortega, May 8, 2013


CELLPHONES AND gadgets cost more than my father’s life.

This remains to be the main takeaway from the case against confessed gunman Marlon Recamata who was paid a measly amount of 10,000 pesos to kill my father, Doc Gerry Ortega.

Yesterday, Recamata was sentenced to life in prison.

Yesterday, we were reminded that Recamata was a mere pawn moved by someone who pretended to be king—someone who has the power, the money and the motive to have my father killed. Someone who was afraid of being found out. Someone who had something to hide.

This person is ex-Governor Joel Reyes. (My father relentlessly exposed his involvement in illegal mining and the plunder of the billions of Malampaya funds.)

Yesterday, we were reminded that Recamata not only pleaded guilty to murder. He, more importantly, pointed the authorities to several accomplices. He was the first to point to a certain Rodolfo EdradJr aka “Bomar”.

Bomar, in turn, became the material witness by directly implicating ex-Governor Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Marjo Reyes for masterminding the murder of my father.

In the same manner as the powerless and penniless Recamata, the Reyes brothers should be treated equally and tried fairly.

While Recamata’s conviction is a step in the right direction, we lament the fact that the Reyes brothers continue to evade justice.

For cases of slain journalists, it is rare to convict the gunman. Make no mistake, this is a victory. Our family welcomes it.

This is a result of the confluence of all our efforts. And for all those who supported us, we are forever grateful.

But let’s not stop here. Let us remember that there is an even greater challenge in our midst.

Because, at least since 1986, we have not convicted a single mastermind for the murder of a journalist, a political activist, an environmental activist, a human rights lawyer, or anyone who ever braved against the deafening silence of apathy and chose to speak in our behalf.

We implore our authorities—who recently claimed that the brothers may very well be in the country—to please work harder in tracking the Reyes brothers.

We call on President Aquino, SecretaryRoxas, Secretary De Lima, to please help us have a fair and honest trial against the Reyes brothers.

The value of my father’s life is so much more than cellphones and gadgets.

Don’t allow the story to end here. We must put the guilty behind bars.