Mercado-Reyes brothers’ long-distance calls bared; de Lima orders probe
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the Witness Protection Program (WPP) to investigate reports that former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado contacted with former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Mario, while they were in hiding from the authorities.The Reyes brothers are facing a case for murder for the death of broadcaster Gerry Ortega. They were deported back to the Philippines after hiding in Phuket, Thailand.
Earlier, reports said the Philippine National Police (PNP) were able to trace and retrieved calls and messages where the brothers managed to make contacts in the Philippines while they were in hiding and among them was Mercado.
Mercado is under the WPP for his testimony on alleged graft activities involving Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines president, former jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam, said Mercado should be investigated for possible links with the Reyes brothers and should be kicked out of the WPP.
De Lima said she told WPP Director Martin Mendez to look if the reports has basis.
“I told the WPP office na tingnan kung may basehan yun. Alam nyo naman, WPP matters are very sensitive and we cannot be acting on the basis of certain reports na unverified pa,” de Lima said Tuesday.
De Lima said unless the report are verified, it would be premature to talk of dropping Mercado from the DOJ-administered WPP.
“Unless we see something concrete, unless and until we see something, then hindi naman basta kami mag-aaksyon on that,” de Lima added.
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