Slain broadcaster’s family hits back at former Palawan gov
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — The family of murdered journalist Gerry Ortega on Wednesday slammed former Palawan Gov. Joel T. Reyes over his challenge to them to “respect the rule of law.”
Reyes was reacting to criticisms of the Court of Appeals’ order releasing him from jail and directing the Palawan Regional Trial Court to stop hearing the Ortega murder case.
“Tell JTR (Reyes) to respect the rule of law [himself],” the late broadcast journalist’s younger sister, Cecilia Ortega, said in a social media post.
Visit to capitol
Reyes made the pronouncement during a visit to the provincial capitol on Tuesday where he paid a courtesy call on Gov. Jose Alvarez and other provincial officials.
“I hope we can be united and respect the rule of law,” Reyes said when asked by reporters about his message to the Ortega family.
Reyes’ offer of “unity” in Palawan was also coldly received by Alvarez.
“I don’t need him. He doesn’t need me. I don’t need him because I’m here to develop the province, not for
personal convenience,” Alvarez told reporters following his unscheduled meeting with Reyes.
Former Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo also expressed dismay over the Court of Appeals’ order for Reyes’ release from jail.
“Our justice system is like a snake [that] bites only the barefooted, the poor, not the rich and the powerful. But surely there is divine justice,” Arigo said in a message to the Reyes family.
Reyes escaped from the country in 2012 after he was indicted by the Department of Justice as the mastermind in the Ortega slay.
Reyes used a fake passport to travel to Vietnam, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, following his disappearance. He was arrested in Phuket, Thailand, after three years in hiding.
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