By Philippine Daily Inquirer
Operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are already in Bangkok, Thailand, to get custody of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron town ex-mayor Mario Reyes, the alleged masterminds in the
In an interview with reporters, De Lima said she could not say where the brothers, who are expected to be deported to the Philippines on Thursday, would be the detained.
“I do not know of the exact plans for their detention, whether they will be brought straight to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, or detained first in a facility here in Metro Manila before bringing them to Puerto Princesa,” she said.
“The PNP-CIDG team can be considered the arresting team, and therefore that team has to make a return of the service of the warrant in court, so the court can issue a corresponding commitment order. I just know if they should be physically brought to Puerto Princesa or allow them to remain here, say in [the PNP headquarters in] Camp Crame,” she added.
The Reyes brothers were arrested last Sunday in the resort-island of Phuket in Thailand, after fleeing the country more than three years ago.
Ortega, an environment and anti-corruption crusader, was a vocal critic of local officials for their alleged misuse of funds derived from the operation of the Malampaya natural gas field in Palawan. He was shot near his veterinary clinic on Jan. 24, 2011.
Meanwhile, De Lima said she was having difficulty making up her mind regarding the request of the Ortega family and their lawyer for her to resolve their petition for review on the decision of the first panel of prosecutors that found no probable cause to charge the Reyes brothers in court.
It would be recalled that De Lima created a second panel, which admitted new pieces of evidence and testimony, and then ruled that there was probable cause to file cases against the brothers. The second panel’s ruling was the basis for the filing of the murder cases against the Reyeses and other suspects before the Puerto Princesa regional trial court, which issued the arrest warrants.
The Reyeses, however, later secured separate rulings from the Court of Appeals invalidating the creation of the second panel. The appellate court’s rulings were elevated by De Lima to the Supreme Court, which has yet to resolve the suits.
“If we decide and resolve the petition for review, it will weaken our position in the Supreme Court cases. If we resolve the petition for review, we need to withdraw our own petition before the Supreme Court, and the high court will now wonder, it would mean our arguments are weak. We are insisting on the plenary authority of the secretary of justice to create the second panel. Even if I wanted to accede to their (Ortega family’s) request, we will have difficulty,” De Lima explained.
Consult DOJ officials
She added that she would consult key DOJ officials such as the undersecretaries to whom she had delegated the resolution of the petition for review. She earlier inhibited from resolving the petitions since the former governor was her client when she was still an election lawyer.