Apr 152013
Former Palawan governor Joel Reyes has asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to cite Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for indirect contempt for her statement regarding a recent ruling clearing him from the killing of Palawan-based broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

In his petition, Reyes, through his counsel, accused De Lima of “scandalizing” the CA when she told the media that she thinks Reyes and his camp might employ “foul tactics and illicit means” to get a favorable decision from the appellate court.

“Clearly, respondent has crossed the walls of decency and propriety. Her statement, to be sure, does not dwell on the wisdom of the Honorable Court’s decision… Rather, her statement charges the Honorable Court of deciding upon the influence of foul tactics and illicit means… thereby inciting the people’s distrust in the Honorable Court’s ability to resolve case impartially,” the petition read.

De Lima, on the other hand, was unperturbed, telling reporters in Manila on Monday that all she wanted was to give Ortega and his family the justice they deserved.

“They can sue me all they want but I cannot buckle down in the quest of justice in that particular case,” she said. “I cannot just take it sitting down.”

She added she was merely exercising her right to free expression in airing her frustration about the development of the case, particularly about CA resolution. She said she would not be “cowed” by her critics.

In the said resolution, a CA division cleared Reyes of murder charges in the January 2011 killing of Ortega, citing procedural lapses on the part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in investigating the case.

On Monday, De Lima hinted that she knew about “something that happened” that led to the outcome of the case, but refused to elaborate, admitting she has no “solid proof” to back it up.

“I have an information, A1 source, but I don’t think my source is willing to back me up or confirm. Kaya tatahimik na lang ako,” she said.

De Lima said she would just be letting the Office of the Solicitor General, which represents the government in cases, to defend her in court. “Ayaw ko na muna magsalita. It is enough that I have my right to express my thoughts. This is a very important case,” she said.

The decision clearing Joel Reyes, who is still in hiding due to the case filed against him, came some four months after another CA division handed down a ruling junking similar charges against the former governor’s co-accused and brother, Mayor Mario Reyes of Coron town in northern Palawan.

In the ruling that cleared Joel Reyes, the CA Special 10th Division voted 3-2 to grant the petition for certiorari of the former governor that sought to invalidate De Lima’s Department Order 710, which created the second panel that reviewed and eventually found probable cause to indict the Reyes brothers for murder.

A DOJ panel headed by State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog had already cleared the Reyes brothers and four other suspects for insufficiency of evidence in a June 8, 2011 resolution.

On September 7, 2012, however, De Lima formed a new panel and re-opened the case through DO 710, which modified the first panel’s resolution and implicated the Reyes brothers in the killing. — KBK, GMA News

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