Palace backs bid to rearrest Reyes
On the eve of the seventh anniversary of the killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega, Malacañang threw its support behind the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) motion asking the Court of Appeals (CA) to reconsider its controversial decision freeing the accused brains of the murder, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said the OSG did the right thing in asking the appeals court to order the rearrest of Reyes for the murder of Ortega in 2011.
“That is the right decision. I saw the motion for reconsideration of the Solicitor General on the earlier decision that there was no probable cause [against Reyes],” Roque said in a media briefing.
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision, saying it imposed its own standard of probable cause different from what was required by law and not warranted by the circumstances of the case.
In a 53-page motion for reconsideration, Calida asked the court’s Special Eleventh Division to reverse its Jan. 4 ruling that revoked Reyes’ indictment and ordered him freed from prison due to lack of probable cause.
The OSG also asked that the criminal information against Reyes be reinstated and the proceedings at a Puerto Princesa City court against him to continue.
“The admissibility of evidence, their evidentiary weight, probative value and the credibility of witnesses are matters that are best left to be resolved in a full-blown trial,” Calida said.
The CA on Jan. 4 ruled that the Puerto Princesa City court abused its discretion when it decided that there was probable cause to charge Reyes with involvement in the killing of Ortega on Jan. 24, 2011.
“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, [Reyes] must by all means be exonerated from the charge,” the appeals court said.
But Roque said the CA ruling freeing Reyes was “alarming” and “a travesty of justice.”
Roque served as a private prosecutor on the case until June 2016 when he joined Congress as a party-list representative.
He said there was a prior Supreme Court decision on the case that stated it was “up to the regional trial court to determine the existence of probable cause, which had been already determined by the regional trial court.”
Ortega was shot dead by a hired gunman in January 2011 and Reyes was later identified as the mastermind.
The investigation led to the indictment of Reyes, his younger brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and several people formerly connected with the provincial government of Palawan.
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