Ortega family still recovering from shock over release of ex-Palawan gov
The daughter of slain environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega said her family was “shocked” upon hearing that former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes has been released from the Puerto Princesa city jail.
Reyes was ordered released after the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a decision on January 4 stating that it found no basis for the Palawan Regional Trial Court to order his arrest nor convict him for the death of Ortega.
In a text message to reporters on Saturday, Mika Ortega lamented that the CA decision came only a few weeks before the seventh anniversary of her father’s murder, or as she called it, “seven years of fighting for justice and press freedom.”
“Our family is still recovering from the shock of yesterday’s (January 5) CA decision ordering the release of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, the mastermind for the murder of radio broadcaster, environmentalist, and anti-corruption advocate Dr. Gerry Ortega,” Mika said.
READ: Ex-Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes released from jail
“We have not received the copy of the decision yet. We will need time with our lawyers to study it and plan our next move. Until then, we ask everyone to remain vigilant,” she said
According to the CA’s Former Eleventh Division, Special Division of Five, there was no evidence presented to try Reyes for Ortega’s killing.
“Our hands are tied by our bounded duty to administer justice and abide by the law. No evidence, no conviction. So be it,” the appellate court said in its 24-page decision.
“Call it a second chance afforded him by God, or a lucky three-point play for him to use a common street lingo or a miracle in his favor, the petitioner (Reyes) must by all means be exonerated from the charge,” it said.
In turn, the CA ordered the Palawan RTC to dismiss the cases against Reyes and ordered his immediate release from detention.
Reyes was released from jail on January 5, at 5:40 p.m., according to his lawyer Demetrio Castro.
“This Court could only hope that he would take advantage and give full-faith and meaning to this second lease on life given him. He is definitely saved from the 20 year or so imprisonment metable to the offense charged,” the CA said. /jpv
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