Reyes brothers not yet off the hook, says Ortega camp


Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Fugitive former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes, indicted as mastermind in the 2011 killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega, is not yet off the hook despite a ruling released Monday by the Court of Appeals, the Ortega family’s counsel said Wednesday.

“The CA ruling is confined only to the technicality of the creation of the second panel of prosecutors that investigated the evidence on the Ortega murder case,” said lawyer Alex Avisado, lead counsel for the Ortega family.

Avisado said the CA did not order the quashing of the arrest warrant and the withdrawal of the information filed before the regional trial court.

The CA has ruled in favor of the motion of Reyes and brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, in the killing, stating in effect that the creation of the second panel violated established procedures in conducting preliminary investigation.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, the Reyeses’ counsel, disclosed the appellate court’s ruling to the public on Monday.

In local radio interviews, Topacio said the CA ruling, “by extension of logic” in effect rendered invalid the filing of information for murder against most of the suspects currently being tried before the sala of RTC Judge Angelo Arizala.

“Mahabang usapin pa ito (We still have a long way to go), although we anticipate that the lawyers of the Reyeses will file another motion to quash the warrant based on the CA ruling,” Avisado said.

He indicated that the Ortega family’s lawyers will oppose the bid of the Reyeses to capitalize on the CA ruling and ask Judge Arizala to dismiss the complaints and discontinue the ongoing trial.

“Expect either side to fight on until we reach the Supreme Court,” Avisado said.

He added that as the arrest warrant for the Reyes brothers continue to be in effect, so are the rewards of P2 million each for their capture.

Avisado pointed out that in the case of Senator Panfilo Lacson who went into hiding after he was implicated in the Daquer-Orbito murder case, the CA ruled in his favor and directly ordered the withdrawal of the arrest warrant.

“In the case of the CA decision on the motion filed by Mayor Mario Reyes, the CA merely ruled on a technicality involving the creation of the second DOJ panel to give the DOJ secretary the elbow room to clarify her order,” Avisado said.

DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima had formed a second special prosecution panel to reinvestigate the case after the first three-man panel ruled to dismiss the evidence filed against the suspects.

The filing of the murder information against the Reyeses and three other suspects proceeded from the ruling of the second panel, which led to the issuance by Judge Arizala of an arrest warrant.

The three other suspects–former provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias and two aides of Joel Reyes–are detained while undergoing trial.

The Reyes brothers fled as soon as the arrest warrants were issued and were reported to have at one point traveled to Vietnam with Joel Reyes using a fake passport under an assumed alias, Joseph Lim Pe.

Ortega, fondly called “Doc Gerry” was shot dead in Puerto Princesa on Jan. 24, 2011 by a hitman, who has admitted he was hired by ex-governor Reyes’ former bodyguard, Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr., who had turned state witness and is currently under the DOJ’s witness protection program

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  • EdgarEdgar

    The Ortega camp should blame DOJ Leila de Lima for mishandling the preparation of the case. Leila de Lima screwed up big time. She screwed up so bad that even the Court of Appeals could not refrain from commenting on her grave abuse of discretion. She took short cuts which undermined the integrity of due process and therefore had to be rebuffed by the COA. To put it politely, Leila de Lima is just too sloppy. So sloppy that she ended up delaying and denying the Ortegas the justice they so deserve. Leila de Lima is sloppiness, incompetence and negligence all rolled into one. Her inadequacies are only matched by her equally inept president, at whose pleasure she serves. With pigs like Leila de Lima sitting and soiling positions of national importance, this country is bound to go to the dogs if not the pig sty.

    • cantonese

      HE HE HE, Well explained sir..

      • EdgarEdgar

        Thanks Sir.

    • incus media

      very well said !!!!!

  • Aaron Cruz

    This case is really dismissed. Thanks CA for initiating the move. You put the rule of law in correct order…

  • Mariel Dela cruz

    REYESES are innocent in the first place… ang bilis magpalabas ng Warrant of Arrest noon, ngayon ang bagal namang bawiin samantalang wala nang basis ang anchor ng issuance of WOA. waaah!

  • incus media


  • nice_boy

    From her comments on the CA decision, De Lima will insists on her interpretation of the law and still have the Reyeses arrested.  Just like when she disobeyed the TRO of the SC.  Scary lady indeed.

  • Mitch Ilano

    Mr. Anda’s back with his anti-JTR articles.  I see that you are still being paid by the gangsta mayor of Puerto Princesa Mr.Anda.  Shame on you.

  • Jerry De Jesus

    Anda, Anda, Anda. Still on the payroll then, eh?

    “The filing of the murder information against the Reyeses and three other suspects proceeded from the ruling of the second panel, which led to the issuance by Judge Arizala of an arrest warrant.” – so if the filing of the imformation against the Reyeses stemmed from the ruling of the second panel which has been declared void by the CA, what is now the basis for the warrants of arrest? 

    Explain please dempto. Your obvious bias against the Reyes are still showing. Haven’t your editors already called you attention in the past? You just could not resist it, no? 

  • mitch ilano

    The way this story is written is so slanted and so biased, it should have Mayor Hagedorn’s by line instead. But oh wait, you are his mouthpiece and his paid hack and you are a disgrace to to your ranks Anda. 

    How’s the book going Dempto? THe one the gangster mayor commissioned you to do, to paint him a hero? I heard the advance was really fat.

  • Sum Substance

    Dempto my man!! how are you my friend? Still on the wrong side I see, well I dont blame you. With the money you are getting from City Hall, along Elgin and the boys. Still believing in and writing lies eh? Well, your credibility is at an all time low my friend. Why dont you and your boys focus on the senatorial bid of your boss and the candidacy of his wife, we really think they need all the black propaganda you can conjure. 

    Well, Dempto, coffee? Cafe Itoys is just around the corner.

  • Louie Ranado

    How many more panels does the DoJ intend to form before it starts looking at other suspects? Justice is supposed to bring to light real criminals, not push into a corner suspected criminals, but in this case, the courts have decided that there is no evidence to support that the Reyes’ are criminals. 

    This case is turning out to be a witch hunt and the DoJ is hell-bent on prosecuting innocent men, for reasons that will, hopefully, be brought to light.

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