Appeals court junks DOJ bid vs Reyes ruling


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima: Grave abuse of authority. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA Philippines—The Court of Appeals has junked a motion by the Department of Justice to reconsider its November 2012 decision nullifying the department’s indictment of former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron town ex-Mayor Mario Reyes, for the murder of broadcaster Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega.

In a decision dated April 4, the court’s former special fifth decision said there was “no compelling reason” to reverse the decision, which ruled that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima committed grave abuse of authority when she constituted a second investigation panel to review the findings of a first panel which cleared the Reyes brothers of the crime in 2011.

The appeals justices reiterated that De Lima had “gone astray” when she created the second panel, disregarding the Rules of Court and the rules on appeal by the National Prosecution Service.

Probable cause

What the secretary should have done was to allow the first panel to act on the appeal of the private complainant, Ortega’s widow, regarding the exclusion of the Reyes brothers from the charge.

In March 2012, the second panel found probable cause to file murder charges against the Reyes brothers.

The court dismissed the DOJ’s reasoning that the second panel was created to correct any injustice that may have been caused by the rejection by the first panel of additional evidence offered by the private complainant.

The justices noted that the the “new pieces of evidence” presented, though not formally offered by the private complainant to the second panel, were the same ones rejected by the first.

Cold neutrality

“The Secretary of Justice is, indeed, the representative of the people in prosecuting the case in court after a finding of probable cause and information has already been filed, but not during preliminary investigation where she acts as a quasi-judicial officer and should comport herself with the cold neutrality of a judge,” the court said in the 20-page ruling penned by Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba.

The other members of the division, Justices Ramon Cruz and Myra Garcia-Fernandez, concurred.

In the same ruling, however, the justices rejected Mario Reyes’ motion for clarification that sought the nullification of the proceedings, including the issuance of the arrest warrant against him, at the Puerto Princesa City Regional Trial Court where the second panel had filed the murder case.

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  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Baboy kasi si De Lima. Binaboy niya yung kaso ni Doc Gerry, kaya nadismiss. Baboy na si De Lima, mukhang Max Alavarado pa.

    What a combination. NO wonder iniwan sya ng mister niya. Ang baho pa ni De Lima sa opisina tuwing hapon, pawis na pawis.

  • Political Jaywalker

    Interesting, but why was the evidence offered by the private complainant thrown out by the injustices but the same evidence acceptable to the second panel formed by De Lima?

    Obviously the evidence presented by the second panel is strong enough otherwise it would not have been the basis for a probable cause to implicate the Reyeses. Who then is abusing their authority the appeals court or the DoJ?

    The problem with the Philippine justice system is that evidence are weighed based on monetary value thus we see criminals are being treated as if they are the victims. No wonder victims families and supporters form anti-crime group, lady justice seems to have removed her blindfold and gets blinded by the PESOnality of the rich criminals…….

  • TinimbangNgunitKulang

    Malaki siguro talaga ang itinapal sa mga pesteng huwes. Big enough to buy their souls.

    • Rex Robles

      wag ka nang lumayo pa at mag isip…sariwain muna lang kung magkano pinangako ng ab-noy na presidente sa mga congressmen and senators mapatalsik lang si corona. big enough to buy their souls.

  • Maldi2

    LOL! It’s like a slap in the face for the DOJ! Wake-up De LIma and do your job properly. No shortcut, no political considerations!

  • speaksoftlylove

    Wala namang accomplishment itong si Delima. Meron ba? Puro pangaabuso lang sa kapangyarihan ang alam. Isa na ito sa pruweba ng abuse of power ni Delima. Pangalawa, yong plea bargaining agreement na kalalabas langa ng Sandiganbayan decision na legal yong plea bargaining agreement ni Garcia. Pero abuse of power din ni Delima ang nangyari. Siya ang natsutsu at nagpaliyab sa isyu na ginamit naman ng payaso sa palasyo para tanggalin si Gutierrez. Yon lang ang sabi nilang matibay na dahilan kaya dapat tanggalin si Gutierrez dahil illegal daw yong plea bargaining agreement. Pati mga prosecutor ng Office of the Ombudsman nadamay pa. Paano na yan PNoy. Pwede pa bang ibalik yong nasirang purti ni Gutierrez at mga Prosecutors? Marmi poang klaseng pangabuso itong si Delima kaya nakabimbim yang disbarment case nila Supreme Court gumawa ng decision. O ano na ang nangyari sa disbarment ninyo Delima? Super bilis ba ang decision o hinog na o bulok na kaya? Walang problema si PNoy. Hayan nakaismid ang hitad at sabi, “tanggal naman si Gutierrez at Corona kahit walang legal basehan. Ako yata ang hari.” Mga inutile sa gobyerno.

  • pedro Bato

    Technicality against the search for truth and justice . . grabe na ito, . . technicality is winning. . .magkano kaya? Only a very popular president with the support of the Filipino people can reverse this decision. . . or people power will be coming. . .

  • mamer2

    DOJ and the BUREAU of IMMIGRATION.., please do not try to make “sarzuela” to…
    sanitize and deodorize your office(s).
    1. How can “only 3rd ranked officials” authorize the leaving of those “hi-profile fugitives”.?
    2. Is “Dismissal” the maximum and only penalty for such a ‘Crime’ or an “error”…?
    3. Is the Appeals Court in cahoots with the “B.I.”…?

  • david

    palpal na naman si de5 waaaaaaaa ilan na bang palpal yan pero di pa rin sinisibak ni pnoy

  • kilabot

    in fairness to leila,
    she is consistent in her mess up.

  • schmuckthat

    There wasn’t any strong evidence that linked the Reyeses to Ortega’s murder so the CA’s decision doesn’t really come as a surprise anymore. The people of Palawan knew that it was only a matter of time before charges against Marjo and Joel were dropped.

  • wakats

    If de lima still has an iota of delicadeza left in her, she should immediately tender her irrevocable resignation and save Pnoy’s daang matuwid – not daang tanga, and spare the entire judiciary from further shame…..

  • Victor Magallanes

    What is the score now? CA-3 vs. De Lima-0. Two CA divisions have already ruled that what she did was contrary law. Why is she being stubborn about this? And why is it that she seems convinced that the Reyeses are guilty when likeas what the CA has said “The Secretary of Justice is, indeed, the representative of the people in prosecuting the case in court after a finding of probable cause and information has already been filed, but not DURING preliminary investigation where she acts as a quasi-judicial officer and SHOULD comport herself with the cold neutrality of a judge.

    “The justices noted that the the “new pieces of evidence” presented, though not formally offered by the private complainant to the second panel, were the same ones rejected by the first.” What was the use of creating a second panel then? Ahhh, Leila.

  • SumSubstance

    Good luck on De LIma possessing the cold neutrality of a judge. As far as people inside DOJ and the CHR before, she never had, does not and will never have this sense of fairness. And being such, she cannot give the same to people asking and seeking justice from her agency, much more from her. De Lima used to defend Governor Reyes and now she is hell-bent on putting him in jail. For whatever reason, and for how much for that matter, only the lady secretary knows. And maybe Mayor Hagedorn.

  • Isabel Santos

    The message is very clear here. De Lima could not bully these judges. Becuase unlike her, they have always been fair in their dealings. And equality is a word De Lima hates in the Black Dictionary. And its concept she definitely despises and rejects any time and any way she could.

  • Ryan Tandoc

    Thumbs up for CA for standing
    their ground in their decision with principles against the constant pressure
    hurdled against them by De Lima who is using the media to pursue her broad
    authority against her co-lawyers. The Court of Appeals amazed me very much but
    you must hold on against further attacks and pressures by De Lima.

  • Janet Gener

    What’s the use of the CA’s firm decision
    and their two (2) findings of insufficiency of evidence against the Reyeses
    when they were helpless right now in totally dismissing the murder allegations
    as well as they already admitted that
    they cannot nullify the court proceedings in the Regional Trial Court of
    Palawan? Are they afraid in the influence of De Lima? The CA knew that De Lima
    created the second panel without regard to existing rules that indicted the
    Reyeses with additional evidences in contrast with their findings of
    insufficiency of evidence? There is chaos in this situation. Finalize it please.

  • Dave San Jose

    Calling Judge Dimagiba, your surname
    alone makes me confident and secure that you are firm with your principles and your decision is clear and irrevocable
    together with your co-judges who affirmed your findings, but how you are giving
    permission to the lower court in which the real masterminds have access to
    affirm or dismiss the findings of probable cause against the brothers whom I’m
    sure was the victim of this black propaganda. I hope DIMAGIBA or DI MAG IBA ang
    inyong desisyon. Totally quash the complaint and stick on your findings.

  • Arnold Tindeg

    Magbastusan na lang kayo CA at
    DOJ tutal hindi naman kayo magkasundo. CA, binastos kayo ni De Lima sa paglikha
    niya ng ikalawang panel na bumastos sa findings ng 5th at 10th
    special division ninyo na walang ebidensiya sa Reyes brothers sa bintang na
    pagpatay kaya CA bastusin na rin ninyo si De Lima at I Quash na ninyo ang
    murder charges na isinampa ng panel ni De lima. Tutal CA dalawang panel naman kayo
    at isang panel lang ang mga alipores ni De Lima. Mas may tiwala naman kami sa desisyon
    ng CA kesa sa Parokya ni De Lima.

  • Imelda Mabini

    It was an excellent move on the
    part of De Lima who utilized her 101% effort to indict 2 innocent people even
    though the CA already nullified for insufficiency of evidence and cannot found
    probable cause against the alleged murderers. She really created and insisted
    her 2nd panel even though it’s against the Rules of Court to create
    another set of panel while an existing panel is still doing an investigation to
    find probable cause. De Lima already knew that once her panel file a case in a
    lower court, CA has no power to intervene with it, making her the victor. Cunning
    move but obviously lutong makaw.

  • Zeny David

    Justice here in our country
    really sucks! If you are in the position, then you have the edge and can twist
    any decisions and principles in your hand. What will happen to this reigning
    DOJ Sec if she is not in the position anymore and without palace support? I thinks
    it’s her personal ( if not maybe financial) feud with the brothers that’s why
    she is doing this.

  • John Abela

    Hey! What about the status of
    other fugitives like Palparan and Ecleo Jr? The DOJ and the DILG had gone
    silent so far against these two fugitives who allegely killed more than one
    person based on television reports and I will not be surprised if De Lima will
    dismiss their pending cases. She was totally focused on the Reyes brothers whom
    the Court of Appeals already released their statement that they really found no
    sufficient evidence in their two investigations to indict murder charges to the
    Reyes brothers. How much is the cost of De Lima’s silence?

  • Merriam Paez

    It is better for the brothers to
    hide than to face a justice queen that has her own definition of justice. Hide
    against the personal wrath of De Lima who are totally focused and determined to
    incarcerate or maybe to silence them. She teamed-up with the logger and the
    killer hoodlum to make her dreams come true with a vengeance. If you’re going
    to analyze deeper, there’s something personal here and the court decision drama
    is just a front of their personal interest against the innocent brothers.

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