Quantcast
Latest Stories

CA quashes murder raps vs ex-Palawan gov, brother

By

Grave abuse of discretion.

The Court of Appeals (CA) voted 3-2 on Tuesday to nullify a second body created by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that recommended the prosecution of former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother Mario for the 2011 murder of radio commentator Gerry Ortega after the first panel she formed had cleared them of the charges.

The five-member CA Special 10th Division, acting on the petition by the former Palawan governor, upheld the findings of the first panel that absolved the Reyes brothers of charges in connection with the Ortega murder.

The latest ruling came four months after another CA division, the Special Fifth Division, also scratched the second panel that reinvestigated the case and recommended the prosecution of the governor and his brother, the former mayor of Coron.

The Reyes brothers, who went into hiding shortly before arrest warrants were issued against them, filed separate petitions in the appellate court. They slammed the second panel created on Sept. 7, 2011, after the first panel cleared the brothers on June 8, 2011.

In a 20-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan, the CA Special 10th Division said that there were “specific rules of procedures” that the justice department had to follow in the investigation and review of criminal cases.

Caused disorder

The decision was concurred with by Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Francisco Acosta, who issued a separate concurring opinion.  Dissenting were Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Romeo Barza, who both issued separate dissenting opinions.

The court said the creation of the second panel and its subsequent finding “only caused disorder in what could otherwise have been an orderly administration of justice.”

It noted that De Lima opted to create a second panel than act on the petition for review that Ortega’s wife, Patty, had filed questioning the first panel’s dismissal of the murder complaint against the Reyeses.

The court said it was “safe to assume” that the petition filed by Patty Ortega was still awaiting resolution by De Lima’s office.

“Needless to say, since at this precise moment this finding by the first panel of prosecutors has not yet been reversed, affirmed or modified … such finding is still valid. For all legal intents and purposes, therefore, petitioner should not have been indicted for the crime of murder,” the court said.

It said De Lima should have followed the rules of her own department and had she done so, “the chaotic situation …  could have been very well avoided.”

The court also said there was no legal basis for the second panel to modify the findings of the first panel since both bodies were “coequal”  and that only the justice secretary “can, consistent with the rules, modify, affirm or reverse the findings of either of them.”

It said De Lima “failed to observe the procedural rights of petitioner and violated the guarantees of due process.”

Patent abuse

The court said there was a “patent grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction” in De Lima’s creation of the second panel of prosecutors. It said because of these “procedural flaws” Reyes was charged with murder and an arrest warrant was issued against him.

It declared as null and void the order that created the second panel as well as its March 12 resolution. The court also reinstated the resolutions of the first panel.

Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for Joel Reyes, said he would present the ruling to the Palawan court hearing the murder complaint so that it could quash the arrest warrants and dismiss the case.

The Ortega family declined immediate comment.

Court questioning 2nd panel

In a statement issued Wednesday, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño expressed apprehension over the decision and said if left unchecked the Reyes brothers might get away with murder.

He said what was clear in the decision was that the court was only questioning the creation of the second panel, not the case against the Reyes brothers.

“As it is, the truth is that the murder case is still pending in Palawan, the arrest warrant is in effect and there is still a reward of P2 million each for the fugitive Reyes brothers,” said Casiño, a senatorial candidate under the Makabayan party who authored a House resolution calling for an investigation of Ortega’s killing.—With a report from Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: court , Crime , Gerry Ortega , Joel Reyes , Mario Reyes , Media Killing , Murder , Palawan , Philippines




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Massive infra spending set
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Captain not at helm of capsized Korean ferry–probers
  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement