MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division has sentenced former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes to jail for allowing a mining company to over-extract ore in the province in 2006.
Reyes will face a penalty of imprisonment of to 6 years and 1 month at minimum to 8 years at maximum, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The Ombudsman has accused Reyes, as well as former Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) Technical Secretariat Head Andronico Baguyo of granting an extended small scale mining permit to Olympic Mines and Development Corporation, even if the company has already extracted the annual maximum 50,000 dry metric tons of ore.
“Under said permit, OMDC was able to extract nickel ore exceeding the allowable 50,000 DMT per annum or 100,000 DMT for the two-year life of the SSMP under PD 1899,” the court said in its decision.
The court meanwhile acquitted Baguyo after the prosecution failed to establish his guilt, noting the prosecution did not present any evidence to establish his participation in the processing and approval of the mining permit.
The camp of Reyes, meanwhile, said they will be filing an appeal before the Sandiganbayan. Asked if they will file a motion for reconsideration, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said in a text statement "Yes we will, of course."
Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, are both facing murder charges over the death of journalist and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
The Reyes brothers went into hiding in 2012. They were arrested in Thailand in 2015 with the help of the international police.