Ortega Family’s Appeal: Writes to DOJ
March 10, 2012
Today, it has been over a year since my father was murdered and it has also been two months since his case was submitted for resolution at the Department of Justice. However, after all this time, my family still grieves and my family still waits.
What is taking the DOJ so long to come out with a fair and honest resolution? Why this delay when we have seen the DOJ’s power to be swift and headstrong in several recent cases–some of which were even controversial? If the DOJ is known for its aptitude at getting things done in record time, then how come, after a year, we haven’t gotten past the Preliminary Investigation?
It is for this reason that I speak in behalf of my family and request for you to challenge our government–confront the DOJ. We are asking you to please write to the Department of Justice, and address your letters to Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano and Secretary Leila M. De Lima. Please call their attention to my father’s case and ask them to see to it that justice is served.
My family, together with our legal counsels, has already presented a very strong case with so much more evidence than what seems necessary in a Preliminary Investigation. The sworn statements and documentary evidences paint a direct line to the alleged mastermind Governor Joel T. Reyes.
A simplified version of the trail shows the self-confessed gunman, Marlon Recamata, pointing to the self-confessed team leader, Rodolfo “Bomar” Edrad Jr. who, in turn, points at Governor Reyes as the mastermind. Their testimonies were corroborated by the other accomplices involved and checks out with the evidences presented, such as the licensed gun, receipts and the subpoenaed phone records.
In fact, we have been told, time and again, by several lawyers and concerned organizations, that if it were only fairness that we seek, Governor Joel T. Reyes and his cohorts should most definitely be tried in court. But such is not the case in our country. My family is being made to spend all our time, effort and resources just so we can file a case.
This delay is making my family anxious at the possible outcome of the DOJ resolution, if and when it comes out. First, delays never benefited the victims. Financially speaking, we simply cannot outlast our moneyed and powerful opponents. And our sole advantage, that of public interest, has an expiration date.
Second, we fear that we may lose again. The DOJ blatantly went against fairness, once before, when it absolved Governor Reyes and 5 others on the grounds of lack of evidence. Luckily however, Secretary De Lima ordered for a re-investigation which gave our family a renewed sense of hope. Now, we pray that she doesn’t allow this case to drag on further or be mishandled and unjustly dismissed once more.
My family’s struggle for justice is a side-effect of a deep-seated culture of impunity which is now ingrained in our history as a people. My father is number 142, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. We feel that if only government had acted sooner and found a solution earlier then perhaps my father would still be alive.
Take note that in the same span of time that my family has waited, for more than a year since the murder, 8 more members of the press were slain. This is what it costs to wait too long–more lives are taken and we are no way nearer in finding a solution to the culture of impunity than we were 25 years ago.
The fact that, after a quarter of a century has passed, our government continues to fail in convicting a single mastermind, only makes us feel like our chances at getting justice is bleak. Whatever happened to the 141 cases before my father? Or the 8 cases after him?
Most of our fallen heroes are forgotten, only remembered by an indifferent statistic. Sadly, statistics don’t tell half the story. Statistics will never show you the gravity of suffering and grief that Filipino families are made to endure just because their loved one chose to tell the truth and stand their ground against the corrupt.
We live in a society that tolerates the murders of the brave and the bold. And while it is laudable that the administration of President Noynoy Aquino continues to encourage good governance by fighting corruption, wouldn’t it be all for naught when this administration’s supposed allies are being killed one by one? What does it say of our principles and ideals when we cannot bring the guilty to justice, much less protect our modern day heroes from murder?
This is precisely why we implore you to please write to the Department of Justice, particularly to Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano and Secretary Leila M. De Lima. Kindly remind them of their mandate to make certain that cases find swift and just resolutions. Please help my family. Please help bring the guilty to justice and perhaps put a stop to the senseless murders.
Whatever the outcome will be, my family will forever be grateful for your effort.
Below are the details you will need in order to write to the DOJ:
Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Malate, Manila, Republic of the Philippines, 1000
Telephone: (02) 532-8481, (02) 523-6826 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
| Website: www.doj.gov.ph
CLARO A. ARELLANO, Prosecutor General, DOJ
Telefax: 525-0952 | Trunkline: 523-8481 loc. 291, 281 | Email: email@example.com
LEILA M. DE LIMA, Secretary, DOJ
Telefax: 523-9548 | Direct Line: 521-1908 | Trunkline: 523-8481 loc. 211, 214 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com