MANILA, Philippines - The family and supporters of slain environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega picketed at the Court of Appeals (CA) to ask the appellate court to junk the petitions filed by former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, that seek the dropping of the murder charge against them pending before a Puerto Princesa, Palawan trial court.
The Reyes brothers had filed their petitions at the CA's 7th and 15th Divisions last year, questioning the reinvestigation conducted by the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) on the case that led to their reinstatement in the charges. They alleged Justice Sec. Leila De Lima gravely abused her discretion in ordering the reinvestigation.
In a statement, Ortega's daughter, Michaella, called on the appellate court to "rule against impunity."
"We beseech the appellate court to heed our reminder and our request... to deny the petitions of the Reyes brothers and therefore to allow the case of Doc Gerry Ortega, my father, to be heard fairly and honestly in the court of law," Ortega said.
She also hit the brothers for not honoring warrants issued by the trial court for their arrest and their "consistent disregard for our laws and our courts."
"If the brothers are granted the relief they aspire for, what then separates our leaders and our courts from those who allowed for mass murder during the Martial Law?" Ortega asked.
The Reyes brothers have reportedly fled the country via fake passports. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is conducting a probe into this report.
Dr. Ortega was gunned down in Puerto Princesa City on Jan. 24, 2011. The Reyes brothers and several others had been charged for his murder.