Lawyer of brothers Joel and Mario Reyes has expressed dismay on the outcome of the hearing Tuesday, for the Gerry Ortega murder case as the prosecutor failed to present the two other vital witnesses which resulted to re-setting of the hearing in March 2016.
Three witnesses were scheduled to be presented in today’s hearing but only Armando R. Noel, Jr. a.k.a “Salvakotah” were presented in the court. Noel was one of the two individuals allegedly instructed by Rodolfo O. Edrad, Jr. a.k.a “Bumar” to go to Puerto Princesa City to execute the plan of killing the broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega. This however did not materialize for difficulty of executing it as Ortega was then heavily guarded.
“Bumar”, one of the main witnesses failed to present himself to the court because he is sick based on his medical certificate provided to the court.
Another witness who was supposed to be present is Erwin Arandia whose whereabouts is now unknown as he decided to get out from the Witness Protection Program of the government.
Lawyer Rod Valmoria said that the non-appearance of the three major witnesses of the prosecution weakens the case against his clients, the Reyes brothers.
“We were just supposedly hoping na matapos sana ngayon ang prosecution evidence para kahit papaano ma-resolve na kung mataas ba talaga ang evidence of guilt against the two brothers. Hindi na naman nangyari ‘yun. Kahit papaano may nangyari kanina pero hindi ‘yun ang inaasahan ,” said Atty. Valmoria.
He said that they were hoping that the Judge Angelo Arizala of Regional Trial Court Branch 52 will decide to issue a warning on the consistent non-appearance of “Bumar” in court.
“Nadismaya lang kami sa nangyari. Gusto sana namin na March 21 ang last deadline sa prosecutor para i-present ang kanilang witness pero ayaw ni Judge,” Valmoria said.
It can be recalled that the first hearing of the Ortega murder case was scheduled in January 2016 but it did not push through because the escorts of “Bumar” were not able to secure a gun ban exemption form the Commission on Elections.
The next hearing will be on March 15 wherein Arandia is expected to be present and on March 21 and 22, 2016 for “Bumar”.
Dra. Patty Ortega, widow of Gerry said they will do their best to present “Bumar” in court. She however said that there are external factors that are now beyond their control.
Mario is running for Vice-Mayor while Joel is aspiring for mayoralty post in the town Coron.