MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has ordered a reinvestigation on the murder case filed by Dr. Patria Ortega, widow of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerardo "Doc Gerry" Ortega, and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, former Marinduque Governor Jose Carreon, and eight (8) others, in light of the offer of "new evidence" by complainants.
In a one-page order dated September 7, 2011, De Lima designated a new panel to handle the reinvestigation, namely, Assistant State Prosecutors Allan Mariano, Vimar Barcellano and Gerard Gaerlan.
"In the interest of service and due process, and to give both parties all the reasonable opportunity to present their evidence during the preliminary investigation, a new panel is hereby created... for the purpose of conducting a reinvestigation in the case of "NBI-Dr. Patria Gloria A. Inocencio Ortega vs. Romeo Seratubias in XVI-INV-11B-00062," the order read.
Complainants' offer of new evidence was denied by the former panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog, chairman, and members Assistant State Prosecutor Bryan Jacinto Cacha and Prosecution Attorney John Benedict Medina.
The panel, in its 21-page resolution last June, absolved Reyes, Carreon, and their co-respondents Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., Atty. Romeo Seratubias, Arturo Regalado, and Percival Lecias of Ortega's murder.
The panel only recommended the indictment of Reyes' former aide Rodolfo Edrad Jr., Armando Noel, Dennis Aranas and Arwin Arandia.