Slain Palawan journalist received death threats

By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2011 05:49 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2011 07:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A daughter of radio commentator Dr. Gerry Ortega is still in shock upon learning that her father was shot dead Monday morning.

Mika, the eldest daughter of Gerry, said her father had been receiving death threats since his program went back on air in late 2009.

"He has been getting death threats for quite some time, but when his program got back on air, mas dumami. We already got him a bodyguard kasi mas marami na yun threats lalo na before the May elections. I thought nga na nawala na. I never thought people will actually do this. In his fight for what is right he made a lot of enemies," Mika said.

She added the last time she talked to her dad was last night (Sunday) when he called her and gave her tips about work and that he was having dinner with her mom. She said it was a normal conversation, no premonition whatsoever.

Mika describes her father as supportive, her mentor, and he always makes it a point to let his kids know how much he loves them.

To her father's killer, she said she will try to find it in her heart to forgive him in time, just like what her dad did when her grandfather was murdered before.

Ortega, a radio commentator and Program Manager of the Philippine Ecotourism Palawan of the ABS-CBN Foundation, was shot dead in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Monday morning.

Police have captured 1 suspect, identified as Marvin Alcaraz, who is believed to be a resident of Taguig City, Metro Manila. 

Alcaraz said robbery was his motive.

ABS-CBN Foundation President Gina Lopez is one of the last persons Dr. Gerry Ortega talked to on his cellphone before he was shot. Lopez said a few minutes after their conversation ended, she got a text from his wife informing her that Ortega was shot.

"There was no premonition at all, we were talking about our anti-mining project to get 10 million signatures, and then this... Who would have known this would happen? They are saying it was a robbery, how can that be? He goes to the ukay-ukay in tsinelas, and why kill him if robbery talaga ang motive?" Lopez said.

She said she does not want to speculate, but she believes his death was related to his job.

"Sa radio program niya isa sa parati niyang binabanatan yun mining,it was one of his passions. He will also hit on corruption,he must have stepped on some people's toes. He is a big loss to us. I found a perfect partner in him, and made him my project director for Palawan," she added.

Lopez vowed to continue their projects for the environment to fulfill Ortega's dreams even if he is already gone.

Killing related to anti-mining efforts?

Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn condemned the killing.

Initial police investigation had said that Ortega’s murder was related to his opposition to mining projects in the province.

Hagedorn vowed that he will personally focus on the case to identify the mastermind and bring him to justice.

He also wants to meet with local journalists Tuesday to prevent another killing of media workers in the province.