Court OKs Ortega slay suspect as state witness


Posted at Jun 20 2012 04:04 PM | Updated as of Jun 21 2012 06:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A local court judge has approved the turning into a state witness of a suspect in the murder of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.

Judge Angelo Arizala of the Regional Trial Court Branch 25 has allowed Rodolfo Edrad, Jr., the suspected link between the murder’s mastermind and gunman, to turn state witness.

This means that the charges against Edrad will be dropped, and he will be placed under the government’s witness protection program.

Edrad, a former aide of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, had admitted to hiring gunman Marlon Recamata.

He pointed to Reyes as the mastermind of the crime.

Recamata, meanwhile, also confessed to shooting Ortega inside a thrift store in Palawan last January 2011.

Other suspects in the crime include Reyes’ brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes; Romeo Serratubias; Valentin Lecias; and Arturo Regalado.

The gun was traced to Serratubias, who had served as provincial administrator for Reyes.

Only the Reyes brothers remain at large among all the suspects.

They have been placed in the n the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) wanted list for failing to surface despite the issuance of arrest warrants.

A P1.55 million cash reward has been offered to anyone who can provide information that would lead to the arrest of the two suspects. – with a report from Romy Luzares, dzMM