MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has good reason to believe that former Palawan governor Joel Reyes is still in the country despite futile efforts of police teams to find him.
Robredo said an “immigration advisory was given long before” the arrest warrant came out against Reyes and others implicated in the murder of environmentalist and radio broadcaster Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega.
“(We) have good reason to believe he still is (in the country). (We) will just have to intensify efforts,” Robredo replied in a text message Monday when asked whether he believed Reyes was still in the country.
Meanwhile the Philippine National Police sidestepped a rebuke from Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, who told reporters on Monday that the PNP’s continued failure to arrest high-profile fugitives like Reyes and retired Army general Jovito Palparan Jr. was an “embarrassment.”
Sought for comment, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the PNP “is doing its best to accomplish its mandate.”
“It will press on with the manhunt operations (for) Palparan, the Reyeses and all other fugitives from the law. It will be much better though if a concerted effort is exerted by all law enforcement agencies and the community as well,” he said in a text message.
The Palawan Regional Trial Court Branch 52 ordered last week the arrest of Reyes, his brother incumbent Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., provincial government employees Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias for the murder of Ortega in Puerto Princesa in January 2011.
The police have already arrested former Palawan Provincial Administrator Romeo Seratubias, another co-accused in the killing of Ortega.