DOJ probe vs. Palawan broadcaster's killers remained

November 11, 2011 10:34 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 11 – The Court of Appeals (CA) declined to immediately stop the re-investigation order of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes in connection with the murder of Palawan radio broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry "Doc Gerry" Ortega.

In a resolution penned by Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan, the CA did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) as sought by Reyes, and instead ordered the parties to submit their respective explanations.

The CA gave DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima 10 days within which to comment about the issue, before it makes a ruling as to the prayer for injunction.

After the comment is filed by respondent DOJ, the camp of Reyes will be asked to make a reply to the same.

It pointed out that the pleadings of the parties would serve as the basis for the CA in issuing an injunction or not.

While the case is pending before the DOJ, the re-investigation shall proceed, it said.

Reyes filed a petition before the CA seeking to stop the DOJ from its re-investigation.

Reyes filed his petition, through his legal counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, who sought a preliminary injunction with a prayer for the issuance of a TRO to stop the DOJ's re-investigation of the Ortega killing.

In his petition, Reyes argued that they sought refuge from the CA after the order made by De Lima despite the findings of the original DOJ prosecutor panel who ruled that there was no probable cause linking him in the killing of Ortega.

Assistant State Prosecutor Allan Stewart Mariano, the new chair of the DOJ panel of prosecutors, leads the re-investigation of the case.

In a resolution dated June 8, 2011, the original DOJ panel, headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog, found probable cause for murder against Edrad; Armando Noel, Jr.; Dennis Aranas and Arwin Arandia but dismissed the complaint against Gov. Jose Antonio Carrion; Gov. Reyes; Mayor Reyes, Jr.; Atty. Romeo Seratubias; Arturo Regalado and Percival Lecias.

The complainant claimed that the extrajudicial confessions of alleged gunman Marlon Recamata, Edrad, Noel, Aranas and Arandia, as well as the pieces of evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation, established the alleged criminal participation of Gov. Carrion, Gov. Reyes, Mayor Reyes, Seratubias, Regalado and Lecias in the killing of Ortega.

However, in the ruling of the Dayog panel, citing Section 33, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the DOJ resolution said that "an extrajudicial confession of an accused is evidence against him but is not admissible as evidence against his co-accused." (PNA) RMA/PTR/utb

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