Om­buds rec­om­mends re­ar­rest of Palawan ex-gov

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MANILA - The Of­fice of the Om­buds­man has rec­om­mended the re­ar­rest and im­me­di­ate im­pris­on­ment of for­mer Palawan gov­er­nor Joel Reyes in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and broad­caster Gerry Ortega.

The anti-graft of­fice filed an ur­gent om­nibus mo­tion be­fore the Sandi­gan­bayan Third Di­vi­sion on Mon­day, Jan­uary 8, cit­ing the “pos­si­ble re­cur­rence” of his pre­vi­ous es­cape after he was linked to Ortega’s mur­der.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Harry Roque Jr. wel­comed on Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 10, the Om­buds­man’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

Roque, a for­mer le­gal coun­sel of Ortega’s fam­ily, said the anti-graft body made the right de­ci­sion in or­der­ing the can­cel­la­tion of Reyes’ bail bond.

“That’s how it should be (done)! I com­mend (Om­buds­man) for the or­der,” Roque said in a state­ment sent to Palace re­porters.

The for­mer Palawan gov­er­nor and his brother, for­mer Coron town mayor Mario Reyes, were ar­rested in Thai­land in 2015 in con­nec­tion with Ortega’s death in Jan­uary 2011.

The Reyes broth­ers went into hid­ing in 2012 after Palawan’s Re­gional Trial Court or­dered their ar­rest for the killing of Ortega.

But last week, the Court of Ap­peals cleared

Reyes of his al­leged in­volve­ment in Ortega’s mur­der, cit­ing lack of ev­i­dence in the case. His brother, Mario, was granted tem­po­rary free­dom in May.

Roque, fol­low­ing the ap­pel­late court’s de­ci­sion, said the ex­ec­u­tive depart­ment would ex­haust all le­gal reme­dies to over­rule the rul­ing to set Reyes free.

He said the gov­ern­ment, with the as­sis­tance of Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida and Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre II, was slated to file a mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion on the Court of Ap­peal’s de­ci­sion.

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