The murder of Gerry Ortega is indicative of structural problems concerning the safety of journalists in the Philippines; while the hitmen are often arrested, the powerful masterminds behind the killings of journalists often evade justice.
Gerry Ortega was a prominent broadcast journalist and environmental activist in the province of Palawan. Ortega’s work: informing the public on graft and corruption within the provincial government, made him a target for those in power. He was not afraid to openly criticize local politicians such as then-governor Joel T. Reyes for their corruption, publicly opposing Palawan mining projects.
On the morning of 24 January 2011, Gerry was shot and killed. The alleged mastermind is that same former governor of Palawan, Joel T. Reyes.
Reyes has escaped justice for more than a decade. He continues to wield influence over local public officials in Palawan. He has now filed his candidacy for the position of governor in the upcoming local elections in May 2022.
Our new report finds substantial flaws in the legal procedures in the case. The report also finds that the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Gerry Ortega, former governor of Palawan province Joel T. Reyes, still exerts considerable influence over local authorities in Palawan and that key witnesses of the case have been endangered or silenced.
As a result, justice for the case has remained elusive, sending a frightening message that journalists covering challenging stories on politics and corruption can be silenced with impunity.
Gerry Ortega was a journalist. He was killed because of it. Now it is time to serve justice for his killing.
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