P4M bounty for Reyes brothers still up


PATRICIA Ortega (first from right), wife of murdered environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega, announces in a press conference that the murder case against the Reyes brothers continues. With her are Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and lawyer Alex Avisado. NINO JESUS ORBETA

PUERTO PRINCESA—The P2-million reward each for brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, wanted for the murder of environment advocate and broadcaster Gerry Ortega, is still in effect, according to the lawyer of the family of the murder victim.

Alex Avisado, lawyer of the Ortega family, said while the Court of Appeals decided against the Department of Justice’s second investigating panel that gathered new evidence against the Reyes brothers, the CA decision did not lift the arrest warrant for the brothers and the bounty for their capture stays.

“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 Avisado.

He said the CA did not order the quashing of the arrest warrant and the withdrawal of the complaint for murder filed at the regional trial court against Joel, former Palawan governor, and Mario, mayor of Coron town.

The brothers have turned fugitives after RTC Judge Angelo Arizala, who is handling the murder case, issued arrest warrants for them.

“We are in it for the long haul,” said Avisado. He said the Ortega family will oppose any bid by the Reyeses to capitalize on the CA ruling.

Avisado said the CA ruling on the Reyeses is much different from the court’s ruling on the case of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who went into hiding after he was implicated in the Dacer-Corbito murder case.

In Lacson’s case, Avisado said, the CA directly ordered the withdrawal of the arrest warrant against the senator.

Detained suspects

“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 elbow room to clarify her order,” Avisado said.

Justice 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 case against the Reyes brothers and three other suspects proceeded from the ruling of the second panel, which led to the issuance by Judge Arizala of arrest warrants.

The three other suspects—former provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias and two aides of former Governor 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 alias, Joseph Lim Pe.

Dr. Gerry Ortega was shot and killed by a man who had admitted he was hired by Reyes’ former bodyguard, Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr. Edrad is now a state witness and is currently under the DOJ’s witness protection program.

Case continues

In a press conference in Makati City yesterday, the widow of Ortega said the murder case against the Reyes brothers is very much alive because the CA did not rule on whether or not there is sufficient basis or evidence to charge the brothers with Ortega’s murder.

Accompanied by her lawyer Avisado and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Patricia Ortega said the murder case continues and played down reports that the Ortega family had suffered a setback with the CA ruling.

“The murder case is still pending in Palawan,” said Patricia. “The arrest warrants are in effect and there is still a reward of P2 million each for the fugitive Reyes brothers,” she said.

She said early reports on the CA ruling “gave the impression that the fugitive Reyes brothers have been exonerated.”

“We were initially led to believe that the warrant of arrest has been quashed,” said the widow. “It is now quite apparent that this was a conscious (attempt at) disinformation,” she said. With a report by Jaymee T. Gamil in Manila

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  • Mitch Ilano

    Aba aba aba, bumabanat si Anda.  2 in a row na to na contra-Reyes ah, ansipag! wag ka naman masyadong papahalata na bayaran ka ni Hagedorn, ayan o, may
    litrato pa sa ibabawa boss mong criminal!

  • mitch ilano

    Every time there’s a story about the Reyes, count on Anda to write a biased piece. I wouldn’t expect less from Hagedorn’s paid hack. Although I  don’t understand why Inquirer still employs you when clearly you are a shame to this profession – you are every inch a bayarang journalist.

    But careful Anda, as the truth is starting to come out and those who cover it with lies will soon pay the price. And you as Hagedorn’s mouthpiece can only do so much. And when the time comes that the real perpetrators of the crime is uncovered, lagot ka kay Hagedorn at Pepito Alvarez because your lies are not good enough to protect them. Baka isunod ka nyan kay Batul. Kay Doc Gerry. 

    Although Puerto Princesa’s RTC has yet to withdraw the warrant of arrest for the Reyes brothers, there is no reason that it wouldn’t do that because the legal basis of that warrant is no longer there.

    We are a step coser to the truth Anda. Hala ka!

  • Victor Magallanes

    Of course the warrant still is in effect and the case has not been dismissed. However, the judge handling the case will simply have to dismiss it once the appropriate motions are filed. He has to simply because the resolution to file the information was null and void. No probable cause against the Reyeses. 

    By the way, if the Reyeses are caught now, bounty was awarded and the case dismissed tomorrow. Should the person getting the reward return it? That reward has also no basis. It hinges on the probable cause found by the second panel which the CA has declared void ab initio. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sum.substance Sum Substance

    Kilala itong si Dempto Anda dito sa Puerto bilang isang bayaran na media ni meyor, so syempre ganito ang slant ng mga storya ng taong ito. Pero isa lang ang masasabi namin, di ka na credible pareng Dempto. Mag concentrate ka na lang kasi sa pagtaknbo ng amo mo, wag na ang mga taga Puerto ang lokohin nyo. O baka naman may cut ka sa 4million?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafael-Torres/100004698932724 Rafael Torres

    The Court of Appeals decision has undoubtedly invalidated the findings of that second panel, whatever it has ordered, whatever investigation it made (if it did so,and we highly doubt this), whatever resolution it passed as a finding to become a basis for filing a case in court and the issuance of a warrant as a result, are all null and void. Its as simple as that. This Atty. Abisaod knows this as a legal fact as he was Lacsons lawyer before. You dont have to sell your already-sold out soul to that Hagedorn. This is politics Attorney, and your caught in the middle of a vendetta against the Reyeses by some abusive politician there in Palawan. This is not a battle that you would ever understand and should not take part in.

  • tata_boy

    dapat ideklarang wanted dead or alive ang mga Reyeses.

  • Jose Manuel Cruz

    If the CA has invalidated the second panel itself, leading to invalidating its findings, the investigation would then default to the findings of the first, which finds without probable cause the involvement of the Reyeses in this case.

    Continuing to put up the reward will be clearly in violation of the Reyes’ human rights since the reward is promoting vigilantism since the Reyes are no longer persons of interests in this case. What’s the stand of the DoJ on this? If this is not corrected, this may become a precedent where anybody with a grudge against somebody can publicly put up a bounty regardless of the decisions of the courts.

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