Ex-Palawan guv to surrender to Sandiganbayan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — The lawyer of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes on Monday said he is now arranging for the surrender of the latter to the Sandiganbayan while they prepare a motion for reconsideration which they will be filing with the anti-graft court this week.

Atty. Demetrio Custodio told the PNA Monday that this was after the Sandiganbayan’s 3rd Division allowed the revocation of Reyes’ bail and ordered him arrested on January 17.

“We’re already making arrangements for his surrender. I cannot discuss the specific details yet,” he said.

Reyes’ spokesman, Rolando Bonoan Jr., said the former governor is now in Manila from Coron, preparing for his surrender with his lawyers.

“He is very sad. We feel na mukhang may nagma-manipulate na ibalik siya sa kulungan. Ito iyong case na na-dismiss na noong araw. All those who endorsed the mining permit, na-dismiss ang charges sa kanila. Siya lang ang naiwan na convicted samantalang ministerial lang naman ang ginawa niyang pag-pirma (We feel that there is someone manipulating this to return him to jail. This case was dismissed a long time ago. All those who endorsed the mining permit, the charges were dismissed against them. He was the only one convicted when in fact, his signature was ministerial),” said Bonoan.

According to the decision penned by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez and concurred by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez, the arrest order was issued because the former Palawan governor failed to present any persuasive reason to reverse the Aug. 29, 2017 decision that found him guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On the said date, Reyes was found guilty of irregularly issuing a mining permit in Palawan. The 3rd Division, however, granted his request to post bail while appealing the decision.

Reyes was ordered released from the Puerto Princesa City Jail on January 5 by the Court of Appeals in relation to the murder of environmentalist and broadcast journalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.  Celeste Anna Formoso/PNA-northboundasia.com