PUERTO PRINCESA CITY - Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, along with Mayor Mario Reyes of Coron town in northern Palawan, and former governor's provincial administrator, lawyer Romeo Seratubias, are the subject of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Angeleo Arizala of the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC).
They are charged with the murder of Dr. Gerry Ortega, an environmentalist-broadcaster, who was gunned down on January 24, 2011 inside an "ukay-ukay" (used clothes) store.
At the same time, the Department of Justice directed Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David, Jr. to "instruct all immigration officers to be on the look-out" for all the accused "should any of them pass through the immigration counters in any of our international airports and/or seaport."
Ortega, the main news anchor and commentator of Radyo Mo Nationwide's (RMN) Palawan station dwAR, was a staunch critic of Reyes and incumbent Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra.
Last year, the Justice Department dropped the murder charges against Reyes and his alleged accomplices after it noted that evidence was not sufficient to indict them.
After a second panel reversed the finding of a three-member panel and found "probable-cause", the Department of Justice recommended murder charges filed. In addition, Patria Gloria, the victim's widow, submitted additional evidence to support her claim that Reyes may have ordered her husband's killing because of his anti-mining advocacy. Reyes has repeatedly denied his involvement in the killing.
Judge Arizala, who denied the accused lawyer's motion for bail, also issued arrest warrants against Rodolfo Edrad Jr., Reyes' former bodyguard and confessed organizer of the assassination team, and Armando Noel Jr., Arwin Arandia and Dennis Aranas, the alleged lookouts.