indignant over release of mastermind to broadcaster's murder
"Seven years of injustice
to Ortega severed by release order to Reyes"
January 6, 2018
QUEZON CITY – "The
seven long years of injustice to Dr. Gerry Ortega and his family is
further severed by the release order of Palawan ex-governor Joel
Reyes. The courts have become appendage to the culture of impunity
in the country under Duterte."
Thus said rights group
Hustisya as they expressed indignation on the release of Reyes
Friday afternoon, just weeks before the seventh year of the killing
of the broadcaster and environmental activist.
"We are saddened and
enraged at the hasty release of Reyes. It took three years to arrest
the Reyes brothers who went into hiding, and one day to simply junk
all bases and evidences that point to them as the murderers of
Ortega. We are one with the Ortega family in asking how has it come
to this, wasting years that they have attained justice for the
killing of Doc Gerry,” said Evangeline Hernandez, chairperson of
Hustisya said it is
gearing for actions to continue demanding justice for Ortega and
other victims of extrajudicial killings under previous regimes and
January 24 is the seventh
year of the killing of Ortega.
Acquittal and release season?
The group also hit the
Rodrigo Duterte regime in what they call an “open season for
acquittals and releases of murderers and perpetrators.”
Citing the acquittal of
Maj. Harry Baliaga, accused in the abduction of Jonas Burgos, and
now Reyes, the group said, “Under Duterte, impunity is at its best
in shattering any hope that rights violators will be brought to
“It is appalling that
while thousands more demand justice for victims of killings and
rights violations under previous regimes, the Duterte regime, in
turn, is acquitting and releasing those in jail,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez explained that
families of victims of killings want justice as much as the families
of these few prominent cases, like that of Ortega.
“For us, they might not be
the murderers of our children, spouses, or kin, but they represent
the thousands of killings that have not reached as far as putting
the perpetrators to jail. If such a case as Ortega’s or Burgos’
cannot attain justice, what more the poor Filipinos who fall victim
to killings, to abductions, and other violations?” explained
The group appealed for
support against the culture of impunity under the current regime.
“We call for public
support in the cause against impunity. This is the injustice and
impunity that we should fight together. We attain justice in not
letting the perpetrators escape accountability and public clamor to
make them pay for their crimes,” said Hernandez.