Marlene Garcia-Esperat

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The wife of Philippines journalist Gerardo Ortega looks at his picture. (AFP/Noel Celis)

We received an unusual email last week. Michaella Ortega wrote to tell us that Marlon Recamata, who confessed to shooting her father, Philippine journalist Gerardo Ortega, in 2011, had been convicted and sentenced to life for the crime.

Journalist Gerardo Ortega's wife looks at his picture. (AFP/Noel Celis)

The investigation into the notorious murder of muckraking Philippine journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat in Mindanao is now seven years old. A separate hunt for conspirators in the January 2011 killing of Palawan radio journalist Gerardo Ortega is just getting started. The Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City issued arrest warrants against three suspects in the Ortega case on Tuesday, and one has been arrested, according to the local Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. But both cases should already have been solved. 

New York, March 24, 2011--Manila police must thoroughly investigate the murder of radio anchor Maria Len Fores Somera, who was shot today near her home in Malabon City, a suburb of Manila.

CMFR

Leo Dacera, a senior state prosecutor and head of the witness protection program for the Philippine Department of Justice, died suddenly on November 4. Initial news reports said Dacera, 54, left, was the victim of an apparent heart attack. Dacera's untimely death is a tremendous blow to all those seeking to end the culture of impunity in Philippine journalist murders. 

Esperat (CMFR)Five years ago today, a gunman strode into the home of muckraking Philippine journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat, pulled out a .45-caliber pistol, and shot her once in the head. A columnist and radio host on the southern island of Mindanao, Garcia-Esperat had made plenty of enemies while exposing government corruption.

CMFR

On the run for more than a calendar year from court-ordered arrest warrants, Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay, the alleged masterminds in the 2005 murder of Philippine investigative journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat, at left, are now out of hiding and back at work as senior Department of Agriculture finance officials, according to recent reports in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

By Joel Simon

Does “name and shame” still work in the Internet age? After all, the massacre of 31 journalists and media workers in the Philippines pushed the 2009 media death toll to the highest level ever recorded by CPJ. The number of journalists in prison also rose, fueled by the fierce crackdown in Iran.
Top Developments
• Maguindanao massacre underscores deep-seated climate of impunity.
• Local and international groups mobilize to offer aid, seek justice.

Key Statistic
29: Journalists slain in a politically motivated ambush, the single deadliest event ever recorded by CPJ.

In the deadliest event for the press ever recorded by CPJ, 29 journalists and two media support workers were ambushed and brutally slain on November 23 as they traveled in Maguindanao province with a convoy of people who intended to file gubernatorial candidacy papers for a local politician. In all, 57 people were killed in a shocking display of barbarism apparently motivated by political clan rivalries. The bodies were dumped in mass graves in a remote clearing in the town of Ampatuan.

February 2010

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists

On Thursday, CPJ’s Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin posted an entry—“Cries for justice in the Philippines massacre”—on the international mission he was part of in the Philippines this week. The team was following up in the aftermath of the November 23 massacre that killed at least 30 journalists and media workers in Ampatuan, in Maguindanao province, in the southern Philippines.

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