In Palawan, ex-governor Reyes’ comeback bid thwarted
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines — Outgoing Vice Gov. Dennis Socrates is poised to shut down the political comeback of Joel Reyes, taking a commanding lead in the gubernatorial race in Palawan province, based on partial and unofficial tallies.
Reyes, the former governor forced out of office after he was linked to the 2011 murder of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega, trailed behind Socrates.
The vice governor got 185,891 votes as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday from 97.96 percent of election returns transmitted, while Reyes had 145,325 votes.
Socrates attributed his win to the efforts of volunteers, supporters, and his family’s good reputation.
“I wish to live up to the reputation of my father [former Palawan Gov. Salvador Socrates] and learn from [his] memories and legacies,” Socrates said.
His younger sister, Nancy, was also proclaimed vice mayor of Puerto Princesa City.
Reyes on Monday afternoon thanked his supporters, acknowledging that his return to provincial politics was a “mission impossible.”
In April, Reyes, the principal suspect in the 2011 murder of environmentalist and hard-hitting broadcaster Gerry Ortega, emerged in public for the first time in years to campaign for his bid to return to the seat of power in the provincial government.
He resurfaced after the Supreme Court in March issued a temporary restraining order stopping the Palawan Regional Trial Court from enforcing a warrant of arrest it issued in July 2021.
Reyes is accused of masterminding the Ortega murder slay, along with his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.