DOJ on Ortega case: Far from over


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Tuesday vowed she would go as far as the Supreme Court to stand by the justice department’s decision to file charges against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, for the 2011 murder of Palawan broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

De Lima made the statement as she dismissed as “premature” the bid of the lawyers of the Reyeses to have their arrest warrants and hold-departure orders lifted by the Palawan court trying their murder cases following two separate rulings of the Court of Appeals (CA) that quashed De Lima’s decision to form a second panel that recommended the filing of murder cases against the Reyes brothers.

She said she was certain that state prosecutors will oppose this move by the Reyeses’ lawyers considering that the March 19 decision of the CA Special 10th Division, which voted 3-2 to nullify her creation of a second Department of Justice (DOJ) panel that found probable cause to indict the Reyeses for Ortega’s murder, was not yet final and executory.

De Lima reiterated that the Office of the Solicitor General will file a motion for reconsideration (MR) of that CA ruling that also upheld the order of the first DOJ panel clearing the brothers in the murder of Ortega.

“If that MR will be denied, then we still have the right to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court,” she told reporters.

De Lima made it clear that, “definitely,” she will exhaust all legal remedies in the Ortega case because otherwise “it will affect future cases.”

Only five months ago, the DOJ filed a motion for reconsideration, this time on the November 2012 order of the CA Special Fifth Division that nullified the second DOJ panel and upheld the first DOJ panel clearing the Reyeses.

The Reyes brothers, who went into hiding shortly before arrest warrants were issued against them arising from the murder complaint, have filed separate petitions at the appellate court.

They have questioned the second DOJ body that De Lima created on Sept. 7, 2011, through Department Order No. 710, to conduct a reinvestigation of the murder case after the first DOJ panel cleared the brothers on June 8, 2011.

Yesterday, De Lima said the two CA rulings would have “dire consequences on the authority of the secretary of justice.”

She maintained that there will be a time that the justice secretary would have to intervene especially on cases where there would be a miscarriage of justice.

“If the powers of the justice secretary would be clipped, how would the justice secretary be able to serve better?” she said.

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  • Horst Manure

    What a mess you don’t have a proper level forward thinking judiciary and this is what you end up with a chocolate teapot.
    Until you open a UNI teach western law you will never progress.

  • Political Jaywalker

    Why go around in circle? The best approach is to go straight to the source by investigating the judge and questioned on why come up with a ruling that’s tantamount to double jeopardy daw in investigation, hehehe. It was obvious that there is nothing wrong with creating another panel of investigators and should have been welcomed by the accused if indeed they wanted the truth to come out. The big question really that needs to be asked of the judge is …… HOW MUCH?

  • randyaltarejos

    Again, integrity of some justices in the Court of Appeals are in question in this criminal case. But the question that comes to mind is how can the people put their trust in the judiciary, considering the recent decision penned by the CA in so far as the criminal cases filed against the Reyes brothers are concerned? When a controversial case is resolved due to technicalities, the collective thinking of the public is that it could be that huge sums of money changed hands among the CA justices?

  • Joseph St John

    If the Reyeses are not guilty as they and their lawyers are saying why are they on the run? Fleeing from the law is admission of guilt.They should come out and plead their case before the court of law. Sec. De Lima is saying it is not over until it is over.

    • sigena

      si lacson ganun din ginawa, guilty ba sya?

  • Benigno the Turd

    Why doesn’t she just follow the process? Just overrule the findings of the first panel. Done. Fighting the CA ruling would just lengthen the case instead of proceeding with actual trial. Methinks this is just a coverup. Remember that Reyes used to be a client in election cases. Kunwari kagalit.

  • catmanjohn

    Just what the Philippines needs… a tough NO nonsense woman with a lot of co jones which those UNA politicians lack.

  • Victor Magallanes

    “If the powers of the justice secretary would be clipped, how would the justice secretary be able to serve better?” she said.” Your powers were not clipped. You were reminded by the CA what you can and cannot do. Besides, your track record of following the rules of procedure and res judicata is quite terrible.

    I am just wondering why de Lima found a compelling need to create a second panel when all the issues of the first panel were not resolved. She did not even dissolved the first panel before creating the second. What she did according to the CA was contrary to settled jurisprudence and procedure.

    Well, Leila always wants the limelight. And how can we expect a fair treatment from someone who do not follow the law and someone who prefers trial by publicity.

  • boybakal

    There will be no justice if De Lima is the Secretary of Justice.
    She disregards the rule of law and due process….she does not weigh, she is not blind folded.
    She is not fair….she is partial and bias.

  • schmuckthat

    No one is trying to “clip” your powers as DOJ Secretary, but you cannot indict and persecute people without due process just because you have the power to do so. What the CA did was remind you that you are not above the law De Lima!

  • Philip Vera Cruz

    Abusing the legal system can arise from various causes. This could be because of incompetence, conflict of interests, bias or prejudice, legal misconduct and corruption. Usually, the form of the abuse is just one of the aforementioned. But in Sec. Leila de Limas case, as much as many would want to deny it, is all of the above. So yes Leila de Lima, you should stop vowing and making unnecessary comments to the media and most definitely inhibit.

  • Jose Manuel Cruz

    What axe does De Lima have to grind with the Reyes’? If she is really convinced that the Reyes’ are involved with the murder of Doc Gerry, the she should instead present definitive proof of their involvement rather than barking up the CA’s tree.

    Is it really justice that she’s after or probably caving on pressure being exerted on her, to the point of breaking the rules of law and using her “broad authority” to circumvent procedures.

  • sigena

    de lima, magtayo ka na lang ng baboyan

  • speedstream2

    If a person has not done anything wrong, why would that individual flee or go into hiding? Is flight now the accepted remedy of choice of the innocent?

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