Puerto Princesa City Jail warden Supt. Don Paredes is facing stiff sanction, possibly dismissal, for allowing the suspect of murder charge Joel Reyes to hold a press conference inside his office after the two detainees were committed to jail on Friday.
Palawan News learned from a source at the City jail that interior and local government secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento personally called Supt. Paredes ordering him to officially explain his decision to allow Reyes for a press conference which is a violation of prison regulations.
Reyes held the press conference right after he was committed to City Jail on orders of the Regional Trial Court. The press conference, aired live over several radio stations in Palawan, lasted for over one hour.
The source said Paredes’ attention to the holding of Reyes’ press conference was called by an angry justice secretary Leila de Lima who called him to demand that Sarmiento be sacked for his action.
Paredes explained before the press conference that he allowed Reyes to call a press conference on the later’s request that the media that had been covering his arrival in Palawan from Thailand where he was deported early this week had been frustrated at trying to talk to him.
Upon arrival at the Puerto Princesa International Airport on Friday, the Reyes brothers’ CIDG escorts repeatedly barred Reyes from engaging reporters in ambush interviews. Even Palawan News who went to Manila to exclusively cover the unfolding of events was not able to interview the Reyeses due to strict “no interview” policy imposed by the PNP-CIDG.
When Palawan News about to corner Joel Reyes for an interviews inside the plane going to Puerto Princesa City, the escorts prevented it.
At the PNP provincial headquarters where he was formally booked prior to being brought to the Regional Trial Court for the return of their warrant and issuance of a commitment order, Reyes blurted to the media gathered around them, “Marami akong gustong sabihin sa media,” as he was being led away.
Paredes did not respond to reporters when sought for comment, as jail officials refused to entertain any further requests for interview with the Reyes brothers after Friday’s press conference.
Patria Gloria Ortega, the wife of murdered victim Gerry Ortega, said she earlier tried to visit the jail facility which she claimed was already prepared even while the Reyes brothers were yet to be issued a commitment order by the RTC but received a cold reception from jail authorities.
“Hindi ako pinasok sa loob. Gusto ko sana makita ang cell kung saan sila ikukulong,” Ortega said.
The Reyes were assigned a 3x5x8 cell that used to hold ordinary detainees who were distributed to other cells so that the two brothers have the facility to their own.
Paredes allowed reporters to inspect the cell, which was newly painted with pink. It had two windows looking out to a basketball court, and its own toilet.