By Jan Elmer I. Badilla
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (8- Mar-2013/PNA) – Rodolfo Edrad Jr., alias Bomar, the main witness in the slaying of broadcast journalist Dr. Gerry Ortega, has reportedly received an offer of P300 million to disavow his statement regarding the murder.
The information was disclosed by Dr. Patria Ortega, wife of the murdered victim, following a court hearing Tuesday at the sala of Judge Angelo Arizala at Branch 52 of the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Ortega’s widow said Edrad admitted the information to her and some family members even before the hearing. A disclosure, she added, that only proves what they have been overhearing in the past weeks is true.
But she said Edrad’s information no longer surprised them because his testimony is “very critical to the resolution of the Ortega slay,” and that they have been overhearing about it even before.
She stated the family remains trusting that Edrad will strongly stand on his resolve to tell the truth in court, and help them win justice.
In the court hearing, Edrad reportedly admitted that he served as some sort of “project manager” in the slaying of Ortega, who was a staunch critic of how royalty shares from the Malampaya Natural Gas Project (MNGP) were disbursed by the administration of ex-governor Joel Reyes.
Reyes is being accused of masterminding the broad daylight murder of Ortega in Puerto Princesa in January two years ago, while inside a second-hand clothing store along a national highway.
Edrad, or Bomar, is an ex-bodyguard of ex-Marinduque governor Jose Antonio “Bong” Carreon, who admitted too, that he recruited and organized the group from Pagbilao, Quezon that carried out Ortega’s murder.
Meanwhile, also during the court hearing, Arizala already allowed the transfer of another suspect, Arturo “Nonoy” Regalado, from a special holding room of the Special Operations Group (SOG) to the Puerto Princesa City Jail.
The decision came following a petition for transfer of custody filed earlier by Regalado’s family through lawyer Hermie Aban.
Apparently, the family is scared that Regalado would suffer the same faith as Dennis Aranas, who mysteriously died inside a jail in Lucena City, Quezon province a couple of months ago.
Aranas was found dead inside his cell allegedly due to suicide. But an autopsy conducted by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) headed by lawyer Persida Acosta disclosed there was “foul play” in his death.
On granting the transfer of custody, Aban also said Regalado should be allowed to post bail because the accusation against him only alleged that he is an accessory to the crime.
Regalado is accused of purchasing the gun that was used to murder Ortega by gunman Marlon Recamata from another accessory suspect, lawyer Rogelio Serratubias.
Asked to comment on this, the lawyer Ronald Obaña said the Ortega family no longer wants to comment. What it wants is that Regalado’s life be not put in danger. (PNA)