Lawyer to Roque: Err on side of cau­tion

Manila Times - - NEWS - REINA C. TOLENTINO

MALA­CAÑANG spokesman Harry Roque “should be more cir­cum­spect in his state­ments” if he chooses to re­main in public ser­vice, a lawyer said on Satur­day.

Fer­di­nand Topa­cio made the state­ment dur­ing the Satur­day Fo­rum at Annabel’s restau­rant in Que­zon City.

Ac­cord­ing to Topa­cio, Roque “has to choose. If he wants to con­tinue his ad­vo­ca­cies as a [for­mer] con­gress­man with re­spect to [ the] Deng­vaxia [ vac­cine] and the cases he han­dled when he was a pri­vate lawyer... then he should leave public ser­vice. But if he chooses to re­main in public ser­vice, he should be more cir­cum­spect in his state­ments.”

On Thurs­day, for­mer Palawan - tion for in­di­rect con­tempt against Roque be­fore the Court of Ap­peals (CA) in con­nec­tion with the Palace spokesman’s state­ments over the court’s grant of a pe­ti­tion filed by Reyes.

The for­mer gov­er­nor was re­leased from the Puerto Princesa City Jail on Jan­uary 5 af­ter the CA granted his pe­ti­tion, which had chal­lenged a find­ing of the Puerto Princesa Re­gional Trial Court ( RTC) Branch 52 of prob­a­ble cause in the mur­der case that was filed against him in con­nec­tion with the death in 2011 of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and broad­caster Gerry Ortega, ac­cord­ing to his lawyer Demetrio Cus­to­dio.

Mean­while, prose­cu­tors un­der are ask­ing the Sandi­gan­bayan’s Third Di­vi­sion to can­cel Reyes’ bail and are seek­ing his im­me­di­ate com­mit­ment to prison “in view of his con­vic­tion” of graft in con­nec­tion with the re­newal of a firm’s small- scale min­ing per­mit in 2006.

Roque, for­mer lawyer of Orte- ga’s fam­ily, has com­mended the

“Con­sid­er­ing ac­cused Reyes’ pre­vi­ous record and to pre­vent its re­cur­rence, the can­ce­la­tion of his bail and his im­me­di­ate com­mit­ment to prison are war­ranted,” the pros­e­cu­tion, which re­called the ar­rest of Reyes and his brother in Thai­land in 2015, said in part in an ur­gent om­nibus mo­tion.

In a hear­ing on Thurs­day, the court gave the de­fense un­til Mon­day to com­ment on the pros­e­cu­tion’s plea, and the pros­e­cu­tion un­til Wed­nes­day to re­ply to the de­fense’s com­ment.

Af­ter this, the ur­gent om­nibus mo­tion shall be deemed sub­mit­ted for res­o­lu­tion.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Sandi­gan­bayan Pre­sid­ing Jus­tice Am­paro Cab­o­taje-Tang, who leads the Sandi­gan­bayan’s Third Di­vi­sion, asked Cus­to­dio if he could guar the court has re­solved all pend­ing mat­ters in the case.

The lawyer an­swered in the af

In a de­ci­sion pro­mul­gated on Au­gust 29, 2017, the Sandi­gan­bayan’s Third Di­vi­sion con­victed Reyes in the graft case, which was - vid­ual in 2011 in con­nec­tion with min­ing per­mit in 2006.

The court, which sen­tenced Reyes to six years up to eight years - is yet to rule on the mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

Mean­while, it ac­quit­ted An­dron­ico Baguyo--who was then then-head of the Pro­vin­cial Min­ing Reg­u­la­tory Board Tech­ni­cal Sec­re­tariat--for the pros­e­cu­tion’s fail­ure to es­tab­lish his guilt be­yond rea­son­able doubt.

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