Reyes brothers get biometrics in jail
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Detained former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother Mario completed their biometrics profiling on Tuesday inside the city jail here.
The biometrics procedure was administered by three election officers from Coron town where Joel and Mario, through a representative, are running for mayor and vice mayor.
Senior Insp. Ariel Pabulayan, city jail warden, said on Wednesday that the high-profile detainees were allowed to complete their biometrics in compliance with an order issued last week by Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 52 Judge Angelo Arizala, where the brothers’ murder case is pending.
Joel and Mario are charged with masterminding the killing of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega in this city on Jan. 24, 2011.
The Reyes brothers fled the country in 2012 months after they were indicted by the Department of Justice in the Ortega murder and an arrest warrant was issued against them by the Palawan RTC.
They were listed as among the country’s most wanted fugitives for three years before they were arrested in Phuket, Thailand, last month.
Reporters were not allowed to witness the Reyes brothers’ biometrics procedure and Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials had kept mum on their visit in jail to administer the process.
“It was a quick process. We just complied with the court order,” Pabulayan said.
Jail officials reiterated that, aside from complying with the court order to allow the Reyes brothers to update their election registration, they are not extending any special privilege to the two high-profile detainees.
Standard jail policies issued by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are being strictly enforced at the facility since its former jail warden, Senior Insp. Don Paredes, was sacked by the Department of the Interior and Local Government for allowing the Reyes brothers to hold an extended press conference upon their arrival at the city jail.
Pabulayan said among the jail policies that jail guards are strictly enforcing is a limit to the number of visitors that could see the Reyes brothers.
Mario is mayor of Coron before he went into hiding. The incumbent mayor is Joel’s wife, Clara.
In Camarines Sur, with barely a week before the last day of voters registration, the Comelec appealed to voters who have not had their biometrics taken, estimated to be at least 10 percent of all registered voters in the province, to submit to the biometrics process.
Alexander Marpuri, spokesperson of the Comelec in Camarines Sur, said 93,225 of the 978,640 registered voters in 35 towns and two cities of the province have not had their biometrics taken.
He said these biometrics-less voters should beat the deadline or their names would be stricken off the voters’ list.
Marpuri said at least 2,135 of these voters are facing removal from the voters’ list because they failed to submit one of these requirements—fingerprint, specimen signature or pictures captured by Comelec machines.
He said voters with unrecognizable photographs are also considered to have incomplete biometrics. With a report from Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon
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