Ex-Palawan gov warns Roque against lawyering in Ortega murder case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2018 04:27 PM

Former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Composite

MANILA - Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes on Tuesday warned Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque against lawyering in the murder case of radio host and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega, where he was recently cleared by the court.

In an interview in Puerto Princesa City, the just released Reyes told reporters that Roque, who had previously served as lawyer of the Ortega family in the case, may no longer continue doing so due to conflict of interest.

"You (Roque) cannot be lawyering for somebody else kasi ho conflict of interest 'yun eh. The office that you represent can easily sway the judiciary," Reyes said of Roque, who is of cabinet rank. 

Roque on Tuesday said the Court of Appeals defied the Supreme Court when it ordered Reyes' release, recalling that the High Court had earlier decided to give the Palawan Regional Trial Court the sole authority to determine the existence of probable cause in the case.

The appellate court had last week ordered the Palawan RTC to dismiss the case against Reyes and release him due to lack of evidence linking him to Ortega's murder. 

Roque said Malacañang will spearhead efforts to overturn the CA ruling.

“The [dismissal of the] case was a kababalaghan (mystery) and a travesty of justice,” Roque had previously said.

Asked to respond to Roque's statements, Reyes said: "Siguro po (Maybe), we will deal with it at the right time, at the right forum."

Ortega was shot dead in January 2011 while shopping at a thrift store in Puerto Princesa. 

Reyes and his brother Mario, who was also implicated and later granted bail, went missing in 2012 after an arrest warrant was issued for them and were later were caught in Thailand in 2015.

-- with a report from Lynette Dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News