Ombudsman seeks rearrest of ex-Palawan gov for graft

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2018 03:40 PM | Updated as of Jan 10 2018 09:30 PM

Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes. File Photo

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Office of the Ombudsman has asked the Sandiganbayan to jail anew former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, this time for graft charges linked to the alleged anomalous renewal of a small-scale mining permit in his province.

In a 3-page omnibus motion to the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division, the Ombudsman asked for the cancellation of Reyes' bail bond for his graft charges. 

The Ombudsman's plea came after Reyes' release from detention last week following the Court of Appeals' dismissal of murder charges against him in connection with his alleged role in the 2011 slay of radio host and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.

The appellate court had ruled that there was no evidence to pin Reyes for the killing. 

Prior to the appellate court's decision last week, the Sandiganbayan in August 2017 had sentenced Reyes to 6 to 8 years in jail for allowing a mining company to over-extract ore in Palawan in 2006.

Reyes was allowed to post bail in his graft case since he was then already detained in Puerto Princesa City over non-bailable murder charges.

In its motion, the Ombudsman said Reyes should be jailed anew since he is a "flight risk," citing the former official's escape to Thailand while wanted for Ortega's murder.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque supported the Ombudsman's appeal and said: "That's the right move. He's now a flight risk since he is no longer in jail."

Roque, former lawyer of the Ortega family, earlier criticized the CA's dismissal of the murder case against Reyes.

Reyes' spokesperson Boy Bonoan, meanwhile, said the former official would oppose the Ombudsman's plea, arguing that no bail conditions were violated.

"Former Gov. Reyes was granted bail by the Sandiganbayan and has not violated any bail conditions," he said.

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

On Tuesday, Solicitor General Jose Calida vowed to question the appellate court's ruling before the Supreme Court. 

-- Report from Joyce Balancio and Diana Lat, ABS-CBN News