MANILA – Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, a suspect in the 2011 murder of environmentalist-broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega, has been set free after the Court of Appeals granted his petition on January 4 questioning the proceedings at the Regional Trial Court.
Initially cleared by a a Department of Justice investigative panel, a second DOJ panel indicted him.
But, in 2012 Reyes went into hiding and eventually escaped to Thailand, where he was arrested and brought home for trial.
It was on questioning the validity of the second DOJ panel that Reyes pleaded before the Court of Appeals to dismiss his case.
Reyes was released at past 5:30 p.m. Friday, January 5, 2018.
Members of the Ortega family, through Michaella Ortega, released a statement on Saturday, that reads as follows:
To our dearest friends in the media and our fellow advocates, thank you for your continued vigilance.
Our family is still recovering from the shock of yesterday’s (January 5) CA decision ordering the release of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, the known mastermind for the murder of radio broadcaster, environmentalist, and anti corruption advocate Dr Gerry Ortega.
This decision comes a few weeks before the 7th year anniversary of Doc Gerry’s murder. 7 years of fighting for justice and press freedom.
We have not received the copy of the decision yet. We will need time with our lawyers to study it and plan our next move.
Until then, we ask everyone to remain vigilant. Thank you.
Click and scroll through a copy of the Court of Appeals decision, below: