Palawan warden relieved from post after allowing Reyes brothers to hold press conference

By Archie T. Barone

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Sept. 28 (PNA) — The Reyes brothers believed that their deportation to the Philippines following their arrest in Thailand last week is a “sentimental homecoming” and an opportunity to clear their names after being tagged as the masterminds in the murder of broadcast journalist and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega in early 2011.

In a press conference at the Puerto Princesa City Jail (PPCJ) over the weekend, ex-Palawan governor Joel Reyes said they now wanted an end to the accusation that they were behind the slaying of Ortega and they were positive they could prove their innocence.

He added that in fact, he would be requesting Department of Justice (DOJ) Leila de Lima to speed up the hearing of their cases as he and his brother wanted the truth to come out.

On why they escaped the country around three years ago, the fugitive ex-governor said they did it because they saw “injustice” after they were accused.

He also stated that contrary to reports, they were not arrested in Phuket, Thailand; they voluntarily surrendered since it had been their plan to go back to the Philippines to clear their names, they were just waiting for the right time.

Meanwhile, the press conference that was allowed at the PPCJ for the Reyes brothers, didn’t go unnoticed to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) that is under the DOJ.

Immediately after the event that lasted nearly an hour, Sr. Insp. Don Paredes, warden of the PPCJ, was relieved for his post and subjected under special investigation for dismissal.

The BJMP issued the order through the Community Relations Service of the MIMAROPA Regional Office.

The relief order against Paredes came when Dr. Patty Ortega, wife of the slain journalist, questioned the decision. She said she was surprised that the press conference was allowed when, in fact, in Manila, the media was prohibited to interview him.

Dr. Ortega said because of what happened, she has lost her trust in the leadership of the PPCJ.

The information office of the PPCJ explained that it was an ambush interview. But Dr. Ortega said it’s not true since it was more than an hour.

In place of Paredes, Sr. Inspector Ariel Pabulayan was designated as officer-in-charge. (PNA)