Reyes brothers taken to Camp Crame after arrival from Bangkok
Video by Noy Morcoso/INQUIRER.net
Fugitive brothers former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and former Coron, Palawan, mayor Mario Reyes arrived in the Philippines at 3:08 a.m. Friday from Bangkok, Thailand, and were immediately whisked off to the national police’s headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Joel looked visibly happy to be back in the country after an absence of three years. Upon arrival, the brothers were served warrants of arrest for the murder of broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
Escorted out of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR733 from Bangkok, the ex-governor smiled at everyone he came across—whether they be policemen or airport worker—and wished them a pleasant morning, while the former mayor of Coron smiled subduedly while watching his exuberant brother. Mario later said he was not feeling well, the reason he had a face mask and a light blue towel wrapped around his neck.
They would have seemed ordinary passengers if not for their being in handcuffs.
The two were flown in after they had been arrested by Thai immigration authorities on the island resort of Phuket for overstaying their visas.
The Reyeses arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay City, escorted by CIDG operatives who had fetched them in Bangkok.
Before their anticipated arrival, the police tightened the security within the premises of the airport.
The two brothers were immediately taken to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame in a seven-vehicle convoy, arriving at the police camp at 3:57 a.m.
Both in handcuffs, a smiling Joel and a more somber Mario were escorted out of the white coaster to the CIDG headquarters inside Camp Crame.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, CIDG spokesperson, said the Reyeses were to undergo the booking procedure including medical examination, being fingerprinted and the taking of mugshots.
At the airport when the CIDG officials started to shepherd them out, photographers and cameramen figured in episodes of shoving with the policemen and personnel of the Airport Police Department to get their best shots of the Reyes brothers.
Reporters had to shout their questions at the Reyeses amid the commotion.
Asked if he had any message to Palawan residents, the former governor said in Filipino, “We are well. We are back in the Philippines. Long live the Philippines.”
He later said that they were optimistic that they would be tried fairly in the murder charge filed against them for the 2011 killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
The Reyeses are charged in a Palawan court with masterminding the Ortega murder after the alleged gunman named them as the persons who paid him for the hit. The brothers fled the country and apparently entered Thailand in March 2012 before the court could issue a warrant for their arrest.
Before their arrest, the Reyeses, according to an official privy to the operation, were planning to establish a “fitness club” in Phuket.
They went missing in early 2012 when warrants were issued for their arrest.
A former bodyguard of the suspects had testified that the Reyes brothers masterminded Ortega’s murder.
Ortega, a radio commentator and environmentalist based in Palawan, was a vocal critic of Palawan officials. He was shot dead by a lone gunman in Puerto Princesa City on January 24, 2011.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento and PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez were scheduled to hold a press briefing at 6 a.m. Friday to discuss the details of the arrest.–With a report from Radyo Inquirer
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