CA quashes murder raps vs ex-Palawan gov, brother



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

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  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Baboy de Lima bungled the case again. She bungled the case against her brods in San Beda Law School. She bungled the case against the Panamanian rapist. She bungled the case against Michael Ray Aquino. She bungled the case against Amalilio. Now with finality, she bungled the case against the Reyes brothers.

    Baboy talaga si de Lima. Lahat ng hinahawakan niya, binababoy niya. Pati hustisya, binaboy niya.

    • Benigno the Turd

      Panamanian rapist was the one with the girl getting off from the elevator like nothing happened in YouTube right? Or did I confuse that with another case? Anyway, I agree with your main thesis. Election lawyer kasi. Bopols sa basic criminal law and procedure.

      • tarikan

        It’s true. My observation: Those lawyers not worth their salt go to Comelec. Look around, merun bang abogado de kampanilya (kalimbang) diyan sa Comelec from the provinces up to Intramuros? Brillantes? Naahh, he can’t even talk straight.

    • Carlos_Iho

      Aquino and his team think they are above the law and can create any law themselves which shows their utter ignorance and disrespect for laws resulting in miscarriage of justice. They are grossly incompetent.

  • go88

    Now the CA pannel will have new money to invest ….. condominium, franchise, … you name it.

    • Akoaykanoy

      House/apartment in US more particularly in California or Las Vegas but not in Chicago I don’t know why (siguro takot sila sa chicago)

    • sanjuan683

      Talaga mahina iyan DOJ Daldalima puro dada yan ang pinakamahina DOJ sec sa maraming nagdaan presidente ng Pinas. Itapon na yan sa KANGKUNGA sayang ang pinasasahod diyan.

  • Mamang Pulis

    Dapat sa CHR na lang ito si De Limas….

    malilimas ng husto ang kaso….sa mga bataan nya natutulog sa pansitan.

    • Akoaykanoy

      Delilah time for you to quit your job

      • sanjuan683

        Baka talunin ka pa ng isang bagong pasa Lawyer ng Ateneo. Mabuti pa bumalik ka na sa law office at duon maging taga ayos ka na lang ng files. hehehehehe puro talo puro talo puro talo hindi ka ba nakakahalata sahod lang yata ang inaatupag mo sa DOJ, Karamihan sa ating govt officials MATATAKAW sa position pero hindi alam ang trabaho. Tulad ka rin ni Roxas DILG sec na matakaw sa position.

    • divictes

      ‘Di na nila alam yung pancitan, sa pasta house na sila natutulog.

  • LabkoPinas

    De Lima really is a terrible Secretary of Justice. She has caused headaches because of her headstrong actions which are contrary to law. I thought being a bar topnotcher would have prepared her but apparently not. How shameful.

    • Benigno the Turd

      Chamber practitioner yata.

    • Mamang Pulis

      ang mapapakulong lang ni de limas ay yun mga WALANG PERA PAMBAYAD ng ABOGADO tulad ng mga pinaghuhuli nila sa TawiTawi. di bale sana kung masigasig ang PAO doon…

      pag si MARATRAT naka lusot—magaling ang nakuha abogado—tipong kalibre nila fortun.

    • sanjuan683

      Wala yan sa pagiging topnotcher, makikilala mo ang isang matinik na abogado sa actual na kaso. Mayroon nga diyan kulelat sa bar exam pero pagdating sa actual na case palaging panalo. Kasi ang pagiging topnotcher tsamba-tsamba lang kapag ang nireview mo ay yun mismo binigay sa exam sigurado top ka. Ok ba tsong?

  • diamond_digger

    What has happened to the time-honored legal doctrine of “Flight is an indication of guilt”? Has money from malampaya changed hands again? Just asking.

    • wawa2172

      Ha ha ha ha…flight is an indication of guilt? Nah, its a strategy to regroup somewhere and control the situation. They know Lila lacks the intelligence to pin down an enemy. Ping is now a free man and friend na yata sila ni Lila na pumalpak sa kanya. Now the Ortega case is doomed by the CA decision and will soon be supported by the Supreme Court, why? Palpal na naman si DOJ secretary de Lima. She needs to be replaced dahil wala pa siyang naipanalo, puro press release lang.

    • doncleo

      notorious ang CA sa mga kasong sinasampa sa kanila kasi madali silang bilhin.. magkano na nman kaya kinita nitong mga hinayupak na huwes..

      • sanjuan683

        Sus pag natatalo kayo sasabihin ninyo nabili, sasabihin may conspiracy, sasabihin dinaan sa lakas. Ang sabihin mo laging palpak yan DOJ ninyo. Napakalaki tanga ang DOJ ninyo. Ilang beses na puro talo yan. Wala pa naipapanolo yan. Kung mayroon Abnoy na presidente may Abanay na DOJ. hahahahahahahaha

      • Hurtlocker1

        sana hindi ka TROLL ha?

      • Magsasaka

        bobotroll yan hehehe

      • vin reyes

        pareho lang yata kayo eh..

      • Mitch Ilano

        so ganon yun, if someone tries to correct what is wrong siya na agad ang bayaran? if you have been following this case from the very beginning then you would know kung sino talaga ang bayaran at kung sino ang nagbayad. No sufficient evidence nga diba sabi ng 1st panel and instead of reviewing the case De Lima opted to disregard the laws by creating a 2nd panel and made sure that the Reyeses were to be found guilty. Please read and do a little research before trolling!

    • Nicolas Liwanag

      Maybe you can ask Sen Ping Lacson. Only fools honor legal doctrines as unchanging and infallible.

    • conradoibarra

      It was determined by the first panel that the Reyes’ were not involved, and instead of looking for other possible suspects and angles, De Lima decided to create another panel which delivered her desired results, and used the media to push the issue more. Di pa ba halata na hindi hustisya ang hinahanap ng DoJ kundi scapegoat lang?

  • imongredneck

    Leila de Lima could very well be the salvation of the Ampatuans.

  • mangtom

    De Lima is a thorn in the Pnoy administration. Why she is being tolerated in her post is something that baffles me. Pro-NPA din siya kasi daw bayaw niya si Jose Sison, bossing ng NPA. Ha-ha-ha-what a joker. Let’s get rid of this b1tch.

  • unokritiko

    This is the delimma of De lima.
    The root of it is that she is very much related to the reyes in terms of connections.
    It was further shown when her prosecutors sided with the reyes’es and until now it was not reviewed further. what she did is create another group to investigate reyes which i consider delaying tactics of DOJ.
    Is there money involved?? Better asked the prosecutors about it.

    • sanjuan683

      Isang malaking katangahan hindi siguro pera, eh palagi talo talo talo talo yan.

  • wawangpenoy

    TULFO!!! What’s your CA moles saying regarding this? Please, write something. I’m sure that the malampaya money, millions or maybe billions of them, have changed hands. I am sure the Reyeses can very well afford to buy these CA jus-tiis-es. It’s common knowledge that the CA jus-tiis-es are always for sale. They are the scourge of the in-justice system.

  • Loggnat

    Legal eagles they are not! /// ‘ 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.” /// All is not lost then, the justice secretary can review the first panel’s findings as a response to the petition for review that Ortega’s wife had filed questioning the first panel’s dismissal of the murder complaint against the Reyeses.All the Justice secretary De Lima had to do is is reverse the finding and re-investigate the case, I think. She should take a closer look at her legal advisers because of this brouhaha. Not one of her think tank advisers knows that as a justice secretary, she has to power to just reverse the first panel’s finding.

  • tarikan

    First question: on the first panel…how much? Second question: The guns-for-hire were pointing to one direction, i.e., to the Reyes brothers, what the h.e.l.l. happened CA? Third question: how much?

    • Jose Manuel Cruz

      Why don’t you reverse the questions, first panel, guns-for-hire of the DoJ to deliver a resolution so the case can move forward, but didn’t deliver the results that De Lima wanted so here comes panel 2 and how much to bury the Reyes’ in the issue.

      Fortunately the CA might have saw what was going on and put an end to it.

  • $16638896

    bka maging ping lacson din ang nangyari dto na nagtago muna tapos lumabas, karma nlng katapat nyan.

  • Peter Lim

    Only in the Philippines!!! Now you cant see the Power of Money!!!

  • Victor Magallanes

    The first panel ruled that the Reyeses has nothing to do with the Ortega murder. The second panel found otherwise. Which decision holds true? The CA in a previous decision said that the second panel cannot modify the ruling of the first panel. Now, in another decision, it ruled that De Lima committed grave abuse of discretion and nullified the creation of the second panel thus exonerating the Reyeses.

    The court has spoken. Let the rule of law run its course. De Lima can file the appeal or overturn the decision of the first panel. But for now, there is no case against the Reyeses.

  • Matanong Ito

    bakit kasi di ayusin ng DOJ ang pagproprosecute ng kaso! ano ba naman ang sagutin ang petition na finile sa 1st panel. pag pagbibigyan ang gusto na gumawa agad ng 2nd panel dahil di nagustuhan ng SOJ ang desisyon eh very detrimental ang resulta nito, ang mind you this act will not only apply to this case but this will become a precedent so everybody may pangalan man o wala eh maa pektuhan.. just sayin….

  • Jose Manuel Cruz

    Clearly De Lima’s judgement might have caused this case to never be resolved. One is left to wonder why De Lima was forcing the Reyes’ into the hot seat in the first place. But now that the CA has ruled that the first panel’s decision stands, the DoJ should definitely broaden their search and look into other possible suspects. Clearly, some individuals have benefited, not only in the slay of Doc Gerry, but with the distraction that the involvement of the Reyes’ have caused.

  • Hey_Dudes

    Borrowing from the Barramedas when their state witness flip-flopped from his initial affidavit………..HOW MUCH?

  • boybakal

    Fernando Topacio….the best Defense Lawyer at the present. He is the same caliber of Dakila Castro, Atty. Fernandez, Vicente Francisco…well known defense lawyers.

    It is not his fault that his clients are winning the case.
    He is more prepared and he knows the law better than the prosecution.

  • kilabot

    define incompetence.
    delima et noykapon.

  • schmuckthat

    Clearly the Justice Secretary is in cahoots with the real mastermind of the Ortega murder. And for a while there I was really starting to believe that justice goes to the highest bidder and in this case, it’s a powerful and ambitious political entity in Puerto Princesa, someone who has much to gain in the absence of Joel Reyes.

    Now that the CA has spoken, let us follow the rule of law. The Reyeses also deserve due process, one that has been taken away from them by the gangsta mayor of PP.

  • disqusted0fu

    The Department of Selective Justice Secretary was trying to pull one again. What is it with De Lima and not following rules and orders? Is Pnoy the only one who can make her bark like a cat and meow like a dog?

  • Mr. Skeptic

    That’s the Department of Injustice led by the honorable Leila Dilemma at work, ladies and gentlemen. Why can’t she defy the CA this time around, just like what she did to the SC? I thought she’s one ballsy woman.

  • tarikan

    CA mahilig bigyan ng timbang ang technicality kesa substance. Ano kaya ang laman or should I say magkano kaya ang halaga ng “technicality” na yan? Cash Ano (CA)?

    • schmuckthat

      Really, ang CA ang binayaran? kaya pala after the 1st panel did not find any probable cause against the Reyes brothers eh gumawa agad si De Lima ng 2nd panel completely ignoring the rules set by her own department. Si De Lima ang bayaran and not only that, she violated the rights of the Reyeses!

  • wakats

    Another setback to sec. de lima’s apparent lack of knowledge on legal procedures. First, the celebrated and hurriedly-prepared electoral fraud case filed against gma; the writ of amparo issued by the SC on gov. espino’s murder case; the globe-asiatique syndicated estafa case on the multi-billion pag-ibig fund; and now this Ortega murder case to which the CA said “that there are specific rules of procedures that the DOJ had to follow in the investigation and review of criminal cases”

    It’s high time the DOJ portfolio should be handled by a learned lawyer, maybe the recent Bar topnotcher, and not by an amateur…..

  • Ernesto

    yun pala ang pinas di aasenso sa justice system pa lang wala ng kwenta.mag kano kayang binayad dyan

  • Charles Lynel F. Joven

    wala talagang kwenta itong Court of Appeals….ang daling ma-bayaran ang mga hoodlums in robes dito…

  • ILitangfan Ak

    If the resolution of the First Panel was appealed by Patty Ortega to the DOJ Secretary and is safely assumed that the DOJ Secretary has not yet decided on the appeal, THEN, can the DOJ Secretary now act on it? If the resolution of the Second Panel was only used by De Lima as a mere recommendation in overturning the resolution of the First Panel, would there be no dilemma now? Is this a BUNGLED case? And now, know all men who are 6 feet under the Earth, from this day forward, arise, and do ordain and promulgate THE DILEMMA RULES OF DE LIMA.

  • Boy_Paco

    Hoodlums in robes are still the majority especially in malampaya who rejected a second panel to re-investigate and recommend the prosecution of the governor and his brother. those honorables preferred to honor the findings of the first panel instead of seeking true justice. I am still to find out if ex-gov joel reyes is running this election I hope not. But if they re-surface that would be scary and I hope that those hoodlums in robes would change their ways.Perhaps its not all about money its about death threats. Life in reyes brothers territory is cheap as for the moment.

    • conradoibarra

      Just because the case was highly sensationalized and having the Reyes’ publicly crucified doesn’t mean that the CA was paid. The problem with some people is that they instantly believe what they see and read in the news. You may not always agree with the outcome of the case, but the CA is an authority and its verdict should and will always be respected.

    • JerryDJesus

      Clearly you are not from Palawan. The Reyeses, who grew up in the province is well loved by the people. They roam the province without a phalanx of bodyguards. In fact, they are known in Palawan as friendly and peace loving family. Just look at the track record of Gov. Joel. You will be surprised to find out that he never was involved in any violent incidents nor any findings of corruption. All the nation are hearing and seeing from the mainstream media are machinations of the well-oiled and slick PR machinery of the gangster lords of Puerto. Their diabolical plan is to totally control Palawan thus the need to eliminate the Reyeses from the political landscape. But the people of the province knows better.

      By the way, the German gangster lost to Reyes in the 2001 gubernatorial elections that is why he never ran again in the provincial level. In fact, if he really is well loved by the people of Palawan, he should have run for governor instead for senator. But he won’t win any elected position from now on.

  • Horst Manure

    Wonder if The Department of Jokers has a costing list ????

  • Isabel Santos

    This is very simple actually, the second panel should not have been made. It should not have amended the findings of the first panel. Though discretion is not one of Leilas strongest virtues, she should have practiced it in this case. Or maybe she was the one who got paid by some thug mayor from Palawan? Just asking.

  • Mateo Guinto

    Bakit kaya di maintindihan ng mga tao to? kaming mga pulis nga alam na namin sa simula pa lang na di tama ang ginawa ni de lima eh. At kahit mga matataas na opisyal namin ganun din ang sinasabi. Kinokompara pa ang ginawa ni de limsa sa isang warrantless at illgeal arrest na kahit saan o anong hukuman ay di talaga pwede.

  • Rafael Torres

    Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. This is the mind set of De Lima and the government that wants Governor Reyes in jail because its inutile in getting the real criminals in this case.

  • Mitch Ilano

    Justice in this country should always be like this – in accordance with the law, and not to the dictates of massive black propaganda, political motivations, appeal to emotions or efforts to arouse public sympathy. The journey towards justice has barely begun and we must now seek out the killer of Doc. Ortega. Gangster/German Mayor, the truth is out to get you.

  • Jocken Dano

    this is JUSTICE- PHILIPPINE style . . .

  • Magsasaka

    hoodlums in robes strike again, technicality beats the case, ganyan talaga kapag mga bayaran maghahanap ng kahit na napakaliit na butas maisalba lang ang kliyente nila

    • conradoibarra

      So lahat ng kaso na hindi umaangay sa paniniwala mo, nabayaran na?

      • Magsasaka

        depende, pero dito nagconfessed na ang killer, baril na ginamit ay nasa pangalan ni reyes, so ano masasabi mo

      • conradoibarra

        nagconfess ang killer, pero meron ba ebidensya na nagpapatunay sa kinumpisal nya? eh kung nagkumpisal ang killer na inutusan siya ni Enrile na patayin si Ninoy, kakasuhan na rin ba natin si Enrile?

        Witness testimonies are not that reliable as it can be manipulated, coerced, or even falsified.

      • Magsasaka

        eh yong baril na nakapangalan kay reyes mismo, at sa husgado patutunayan kung hindi totoo ang sinasabi ng killer, shungak

    • JerryDJesus

      Easy for you to blabber against technicalities when you are not accused of anything. Technicalities are mechanisms of the rule law in order to protect against the abuse of the state. Which is clearly the situation here. The Reyeses have nothing to do with the Ortega murder according to first panel. De Lima created another one which implicated the Reyeses. If the 2nd panel also exonerated them, would De Lima have created a 3rd panel just to implicate the Reyeses?

      • Magsasaka

        yea right the reyeses have nothing to do, the gun is under his name, the killer confessed and you still believe they have nothing to do with it, pathetic !diot

  • EmmanuelGomez

    pag wala talaga evidence.. it wont stick..

  • nice_boy

    Sa trial by publicity lang ang DOJ nananalo. Kailangan mag back to basic sila. Gather evidence first before opening your mouth. Better still, abandon your election law and review criminal law and procedure.

  • Felix Alcantara

    The decision is perfectly correct. The incompetent Dilemma should have instead reviewed the findings of the original panel and reversed or modified said findings before dissolving that panel and created a new panel. This procedure is so important as an inherent ingredient for “due process” to be observed regardless of situations or persons. Being a Secretary of the Dept. of Justice does not in anyway confer on Dilemma to change rules as her whims dictates. Rules of Procedures in any instrumentality of the government are binding unless repealed or modified but such abrogation or modification is valid only after publication in the Official Gazette or newspapers of general circulation.

  • jaws378

    Not a problem at all. Kung sinabi ng CA na pending pa daw ang petition for review which was filed by the family of the victim, all that Sec De Lima has to do is resolve this petition. Should the petition be granted, then the result would be the same, the Reyes brothers would still be charged with murder.The bottom line is even if it was a mistake for Sec. De Lima to create a 2nd panel of prosecutors to conduct a preliminary investigation, this error can be corrected.

    • Felix Alcantara

      Of course such could be corrected. The CA just simply reviewed the procedural aspects and not resolving or rendering a decision-that is the province of a trial court. As such as the CA reinstated the findings of the first panel, it is up for the Sec of Justice to review such findings and issue an opinion based on that findings. If she objected to the panel’s findings, she should stressed on what areas on the report she disagreed and point thereon her rectifications.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    CA…..CA…..CA…….CASH in short!

  • disqus_WIkXYUshrh

    Hanggang ngayon di nawawala ang ang tag na “highest bidder” sa Judiciary. Kala ko mawawala na ito pag wala na si Corona?

  • AllaMo

    Mga kamag-anak at karugtong sa pusod ni corona itong mga hostessya (apologies to true hostesses) nang ca na ito.

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