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The Court of Appeals (CA) 11th Division reversed its January 2018 decision and revived the trial of former Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes over the murder of broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.
It was the CA’s decision last 2018 that freed Reyes in January 2018, but the former governor was arrested a few weeks later due to the order of the Ombudsman for graft over a mining permit case.
It was in connection with an anomalous mining permit he issued while he was the governor of Palawan. He is presently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa.
“The decision dated January 4, 2018, is hereby reversed and set aside and a new one is entered as follows: directing the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to issue a warrant of arrest against the petitioner and to conduct proceedings in criminal case No. 26839 with purposeful dispatch,” said the decision penned by Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob, who previously dissented to the Pizarro ruling in 2018.
Pizzaro was replaced by Associate Justice Rafael Antonio Santos. He retired in February 2018 which is ahead of his compulsory retirement, and one month after the decision freeing ex-Gov. Reyes in 2018.
Associate Justices Danton Bueser and Victoria Isabel Paredes remained in the division. They previously concurred with Pizarro but it was not clear on how they voted this time.
Ortega, known for his commentaries on Malampaya fund scam was shot and killed in Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City in January 2011. A certain Rodolfo Edrad named former Gov. Reyes as the mastermind.