New arrest warrant out for ex-Palawan governor in Ortega slay

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Former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes (PHOTO FROM PNP)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines A contemporary warrant of arrest has been issued in opposition to former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes for allegedly ordering the killing of broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega a decade in the past, the Inquirer realized on Wednesday.

Judge Angelo Arizala of Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Palawan issued the warrant on July 14, just about two years after the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed in December 2019 its personal choice in January 2018 to disregard the homicide case in opposition to Reyes for loss of possible reason.

The media realized concerning the new warrant on Wednesday from Reyes spokesperson Rolando Bonoan Jr., who stated they had been knowledgeable concerning the courtroom order on Tuesday night time.

Michaella Ortega, daughter of the slain veterinarian and broadcaster, welcomed the advance within the case.

She stated that the circle of relatives have been expecting the resumption of the homicide trial after a number of years of criminal battles that they consider had been supposed to derail the homicide case.

Theres this type of sense of desperation [on Reyes] the place if he will get arrested once more, we’re going to select up the place we left off within the trial. Numerous witnesses have already stated one thing, even Joel Reyes has already been on the stand. Whats attention-grabbing is thats what had been looking forward to when the primary choice of CA got here out, she stated.

Motion to quash

Bonoan, a former provincial board member, stated Reyes stays within the nation and had no intentions to go away.

Personally, I feel the RTC will have to no longer haven’t begun issued a warrant of arrest since the case is below the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on account of the movement for reconsideration filed by way of the attorneys representing former Governor Reyes and it used to be already assigned by way of the Supreme Court of their department, so subsequently, technically they already got jurisdiction over this, Bonoan stated.

Reyes legal professional had filed a movement to quash the arrest warrant prior to the RTC, arguing that their movement to overturn the CAs December 2019 ruling within the Supreme Court used to be nonetheless pending. The CA had ordered the Palawan RTC to renew the trial of the case during which Reyes brother, Mario Reyes Jr., the mayor of Coron, used to be his coaccused.

It at all times gave the Reyes brothers hope as a result of they at all times have one thing to enchantment about, Ortegas daughter stated.

Bonoan insinuated that the arrest warrant is also motivated by way of politics, since Reyes may nonetheless run for any place in spite of being convicted of graft in a mining case in 2017.

Our query is, what is that this warrant of arrest? Firstly, is it simply because hes simply complying with the order of the Court of Appeals or is it as a result of in simply two months, the submitting for candidacy for 2022 elections is set to start? Bonoan stated.

Gunman stuck

Ortega used to be shot a couple of instances within the head and frame in January 2011 in a thrift store close to his veterinary sanatorium by way of a lone assailant in Puerto Princesa City.

The alleged gunman, Marlon Recamata, used to be stuck with the assistance of bystanders. His alleged accomplices, Dennis Aranas and Armando Noel Loria, had been arrested within the following days.

Recamata later confessed to the killing and stated his crew used to be employed for the hit activity in alternate for P150,000 by way of Rodolfo Edrad Jr., a former Reyes bodyguard.

In February 2011, Ortegas widow, Patria Gloria, filed a homicide grievance in opposition to Reyes, his brother Mario and 10 others on the Department of Justice (DOJ), pronouncing handiest Reyes had the purpose to reserve her husband killed.

In his day by day radio program, Ortega had criticized Reyes for the previous governors incapability to prevent the abuses and violations of environmental rules dedicated by way of mining firms in Palawan.
Ortegas widow additionally stated Reyes blamed her husband for his failed run for Congress.

In March 2012, Reyes and his brother, fled to Vietnam to evade arrest after the DOJ indicted them for Ortegas homicide.

The Reyes brothers had been arrested at Phuket, Thailand, in September 2015 and deported to Manila for violating Thai immigration rules. They had been sooner or later detained on the Puerto Princesa City prison.

Graft conviction

In January 2016, the Supreme Court directed the Palawan RTC to continue with the trial of Reyes for the homicide of Ortega.

But in January 2018, the appellate courtroom upheld his petition wondering the benefit of his trial. However, Reyes remained in detention, this time for a graft conviction in a mining case in 2017. He used to be moved to a prison at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City in Metro Manila the place he remained till his unlock in April this yr.

In a choice authored by way of Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob in December 2019, the CA put aside its January 2018 ruling, reinstated the case and directed the Palawan RTC to factor a warrant of arrest in opposition to Reyes.

Several of Reyes buddies within the Ortega homicide case had already been convicted and are these days serving their respective sentences, together with Regalado, a former aide and worker on the provincial capitol now serving time on the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF).

Reyes brother, the Coron mayor, is out on bail. WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

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