MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals decision upholding a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes does not clear him of murder, the lawyer for Gerry Ortega’s family said.
Noting that the appeals court did not recall the warrant of arrest issued against Reyes, lawyer Alex Avisado Jr. said “the ruling does not in any way absolve the Reyes brothers [Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Mario Reyes] nor it is final and executory. This is purely legal issue.”
Reyes’ petition questioned Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s order creating a second panel of prosecutors that reviewed and filed the case after an earlier panel ruled to dismiss all evidence against the former governor and most of the accused, including his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
In ruling on the petition, the CA invalidated the second panel as well as its finding of probable cause against the Reyes brothers and reinstated the findings of the first panel created also by the DOJ chief which absolves them of criminal liability.
But the appeals court noted that there is a pending petition for review with the DOJ filed by Gerry Ortega’s wife asking for a reversal of the findings of the first panel and file a case in court against the brothers which still needed to be resolved.
“We will file a motion for reconsideration and expect this to reach all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Avisado said.
He also said that any motion for reconsideration they file on the ruling “is not prejudicial to the petition for review” filed by Ortega’s widow. “What remains to be seen is the action of Secretary de Lima.”