Ortega murder suspect dies of kidney disease
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines – A suspect in the murder of broadcaster Gerardo "Gerry" Ortega died Tuesday, September 11, due to a kidney disease he has suffered for a year.
Suspect Percival Lecias, who was under hospital arrest, died before he could testify in the case. He was seen to link the alleged mastermind, former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, to Ortega's murder.
Reyes' former personal aide, the 44-year-old Lecias was nabbed in Puerto Princesa in May. He allegedly assisted hired killers who murdered Ortega, also an environmentalist who often criticized Reyes, in January 2011.
In an earlier statement, the Ortega family had said Lecia's arrest gives their family "some relief and much hope that the wanted fugitives… will soon be apprehended." "We will not stop fighting for justice until the day the guilty behind the murder of my father are punished accordingly," the late broadcaster's family said.
Gov Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, have been in hiding since a court ordered their arrest in March. The Reyes brothers allegedly flew to Vietnam using fake identities, supposedly with the help of Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel.