REGIONS:

Suspect in journalist's murder surrenders to authorities

(IFJ/IFEX) - February 7, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is encouraged to learn that a suspect allegedly involved in the January 24 murder of broadcaster Gerado Ortega in the Philippines is in custody.

A key suspect in the murder, Rodolfo Edrad Jr, alias Jun-Jun Bomar, turned himself in to authorities in Quezon province at about 10 p.m. on February 5, according to news reports the following day.

Ortega, a prominent news anchor and commentator with dwAR, was shot in the head at about 10 a.m. on January 24 as he was shopping in the San Pedro district of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the country's far-western island province of Palawan.

Gunman Marlon de Camata (aka Marvin Alcaraz), who was arrested at the scene on January 24, and reportedly told police that he and an accomplice had been promised 150,000 pesos (about 3440 USD) to murder the broadcaster "to stop his criticism of unnamed powerful people", according to local media reports.

Radio dzBB reported that Edrad has provided police with information on who ordered Ortega's killing, and investigators have begun the task of verifying the information. "We are encouraged that there are further signs that strong evidence in this case will lead to the successful conviction of those involved in the cold-blooded murder of Gerado Ortega," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"The IFJ again urges a swift and thorough investigation by authorities to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice."

Ortega, a former gubernatorial candidate, was a vocal critic of the province's governor and had publicly campaigned against mining operations in Palawan. He also headed an ecotourism project in the province supported by the charitable arm of broadcaster ABS-CBN.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, reported that the killing may be related to Ortega's commentary on a gas company's operations in the province.

Latest Tweet:

Shots fired at home of senior leader of #Pakistani journalists' union http://t.co/wu3Wmf9sDX | @IFJGlobal