It seems everyone, but his closest associates, was caught flat- footed with the sudden release from jail of former Governor Joel T. Reyes. For a long time, the public has accepted his fate as the alleged mastermind in the murder of former Board member and broadcaster Gerry Ortega. Even the worst of his perceived enemies had become complacent, expecting the former Governor to languish in jail till kingdom come. No much was heard about him. He was, in fact, existing below radar and bound to be forgotten. And as the trial of the murder case grinds exceedingly slow, interest in Gerry’s fate has also waned considerably. Even some of the more rabid supporters of the Ortega family have become scarce. Secretary Harry Roque, who was prominent during the early stages of the case, has gone to better and more prominent pasture. Now we do not even know who’s handling the case. It’s a pity that what started as a bang, seemed to have languished in a whimper.
With JTR’s release, expect the political rumor mill to work overtime in creating several scenarios for his return to the political arena. His former associates will certainly spring back to life, and start dreaming of the day when they are in the saddle once more. And those in power now will have to reconfigure their political stance with the former Governor in mind.
But the bigger question is whether JTR is still into it. The man had gone through a most painful grinder, certainly prison life was no walk in the park for him, and there are stark realities of painful betrayals and disloyalties. Also, there is still his pending case at the Sandigan which found him guilty of graft over the alleged anomalous renewal of permit of a small scale mining company. And although his name is now commonly associated with politics, perhaps, he has a different perspective of it by now, tempered by what he had gone through.
But for now, those outside the political fence will have something to hope or wish for.
The Ortega family and their supporters could not waver in the fight for what Gerry stood for, notwithstanding the setback at the Court of Appeals. They owe it to his memory and to the public to continue the quest for justice, to fight and triumph against what seemed like an insurmountable odds. I am certain once they have recovered from the shock, and after picking up the pieces, they will be emboldened even more to move forward knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The “miracle” which is supposed to have saved Reyes from facing trial, as stated in the majority decision of the CA, is not really so, and neither is it a “lucky three-point play” . Rather, it was the “premature” conclusion of a special division of the CA which saved him, so says Justice Maria Filimena Singh, who wrote a separate dissenting opinion and who joined Justice Marie Christine Jacob in opposing the majority.
Justice Singh’s 18 page dissent raised several legal points which i’m certain Ortega’s legal team have studied by now. Meanwhile, we could only wait for the moves of both parties in their own respective quest for justice.
With the stench of a decadent war and natural calamities and accidents occurring at alarming intervals, 2017 was indeed the year when we lived our lives dangerously. But faith, fortitude and resilience made the Filipinos survive and even emerge as the number three happiest people on earth. What a race!
2018, however, promises to be more interesting with several disruptions looming in the horizon which would recast the very foundation of our country.
Top on the list is the imminent shift from a highly centralized unitary government to the shared and dispersed power of federalism. With Speaker Alvarez himself leading the charge, Congress is all set to convene as a constituent assembly to write the law that will be submitted in a plebiscite to the electorate in time for the barangay elections in May this year. But as far as the Duterte partisans are concerned, it is a done deal particularly for the once minuscule PDP-Laban and its die hards, who through the years,had a fought a lonely battle for the cause of Federalism.
It would be instructive to see how the Constituent Assembly will hammer the Transitory Provisions of the amended Constitution which will contain the structure, essence and nuances of a transition government. Of significant interest is the likelihood of canceling the scheduled elections in 2019 as part of the transitioning mechanism of the present government. NO EL is seen by House leaders as a ” necessary evil ” which we have to embrace.
Just a word of caution: democracy abhors NO EL scenarios, and unless our leaders come to grips with this reality, people’s patience maybe stretched too far beyond our leaders capacity to manage. What was prescribed as a cure could become the dreaded disease of which there is no panacea.
Use of materials from this Website, including any commercial use, reproduction, distribution, re-publication, broadcast, and display or performed, without prior permission of Qubes Publication and Ads Promotion is strictly prohibited.