Ortega’s family seeks a million signatures for justice, press freedom

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Broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega. Contributed Photo
Broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega. Contributed Photo

Slain Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Doc Gerry Ortega would have been 48 years old today. He was killed last Jan. 24 by an assassin who pointed at former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes as mastermind.

To push the campaign to end impunity in the Philippines as well as pay tribute to Doc Gerry, several organizations have joined hands and launched today a signature drive aimed to gather one million signatures “for truth, justice and press freedom.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), together with the Ortega family, Justice for Doc Gerry Ortega Movement, Philippine Press Institute, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace-Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Hustisya, Kaya Natin and ABS-CBN Foundation, are spearheading the campaign.

In a roundtable discussion last August 24, the seventh month of Doc Gerry’s killing, held at the Adarna Restaurant in Quezon City, representatives of these groups and journalists from different news organizations agreed to conduct the signature campaign as one of the actions to take to campaign for justice.

IBP president Roan Libarios said IBP will form a task force that will monitor cases of extra-judicial killings and provide assistance to victims and their families. Other groups will launch similar roundtable discussions.

NUJP encourages everyone, particularly members of media, to sign the petition. Those who want to sign up may visit http://ramatak.net/?page_id=342.

Ortega is the 142nd journalist killed in the line of duty since 1986, the third under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

While gunman Marlon Recamata identified Reyes as the mastermind, the Department of Justice absolved Reyes and five others in its resolution dated June 14. Ortega’s family filed a motion for partial reconsideration. The DOJ is expected to release its decision soon.

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