A PHILIPPINE media organization has renewed calls for justice for the family and friends of Dr. Gerry Ortega.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called for the arrest of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, the suspected mastermind of Ortega's killing.
The group also welcomed the move by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Task Force on Media Security to have Reyes re-arrested.
"The OSG has argued that there are 'essential requisites' for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and that these are not present in this case," the group said.
Citing the pleading of the OSG, the NUJP stressed that "there is now a finding of strong evidence of petitioner's guilt, there is no invasion, much less a material and substantial invasion of [his] right should he be ordered re-arrested."
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"These are legal arguments, but we hold to a more basic reason for his arrest: A murder suspect who can evade arrest and go about his political business can influence the case and while Reyes may be within his rights to run for office, it is likely that he does not have the right to do it outside of government custody," it added.
Press freedom and human rights groups have long held that impunity in attacks against journalists emboldens those who seek to silence the critical press, the NUJP said, adding that it "put the entire media community at greater risk."
In a Unesco report last year, it was revealed that impunity for journalist killings is both an obstacle to ensuring journalist safety and a chilling contributor to self-censorship with 87 percent of journalist killings worldwide unsolved.
Thus, the group explained that it joins "Doc Gerry's family, friends, and supporters in calling for the long-delayed justice for his murder and call as well for Reyes' arrest to face trial for the killing."
"More broadly, we join the call for continuing reforms that would help preserve crime scenes, speed up investigations and prosecution of those who attack journalists," it pointed out.