Environmental justice group Task Force Justice Environmental Defenders lauded Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s decision to personally monitor the case of slain Palawan broadcaster and anti-mining activist Dr. Gerry Ortega.
“The family, friends, fellow environmentalists, media practitioners, and Palawenos have been waiting too long for justice to be served. Secretary de Lima’s action will give the case a positive advance,” said Marjorie Pamintuan , convenor of TF Justice for Environmental Defenders.
Earlier in June, the group denounced the DOJ panel’s decision clearing former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes in the Killing of Dr. Ortega. Reyes was absolved despite the confession of Rolando Erad, Jr., a close aide of Reyes and the one who formed the assassination team. In July, Dr. Gerry’s family filed a motion for reconsideration on the case.
Sec. de Lima previously inhibited herself from the case because Reyes was her former client when she was still in private practice.
“We are glad that Sec. de Lima has stepped forward to oversee the proceedings of the case. We trust that her previous relationship with Reyes as her client during her private lawyering will not affect her objectivity in this case.”
“We reiterate our cal to Sec. de Lima to junk the first decision absolving Reyes and conduct an immediate review of the case.”
Meanwhile, environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment lamented on the government’s cold-shoulder treatment on the cases of human rights violation against environmental defenders.
“Justice has yet to be delivered to the seven (7) environmental defenders who were killed in the line of duty under President Aquino as well as to the 33 cases of extra judicial killings of environmentalists under former President Arroyo,” said Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.