Justice Secretary Leila de Lima today said that the deportation of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron ex-mayor Mario Reyes has been tentatively set for Thursday.
The Reyes brothers have been accused as the alleged masterminds of the killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011.
The brothers, each with a P2 million reward on their heads, were arrested by Thai immigration authorities in the island resort of Phuket last Sunday.
De Lima said Philippine National Police operatives will fetch the Reyes brothers in Bangkok, Thailand and escort the suspects back to the country.
Ortega, a hard-hitting commentator of a local affiliate of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) and a known environmental crusader in Palawan, was shot dead in broad daylight by a lone assassin in Puerto Princesa City on January 24, 2011.
He was a vocal critic of Palawan officials,particularly the then governor Joel Reyes, whom he accused of misusing the province’ share of royalties from the Malampaya gas field operations off Palawan.
A former bodyguard earlier pointed to the Reyes brothers as the masterminds of the Ortega murder.
Lawyer Harry Roque said the government should not stop at the arrests and must ensure that justice is meted out to the guilty, including those who plundered the Malampaya funds.
“We’re hoping for justice for Dr. Gerry Ortega’s family and for the country. All those who plundered the Malampaya funds should also be prosecuted and Palawan should be given its lawful 40 percent share from all of the gas well’s revenues,” said Roque, chair of the Center for International Law.
Roque served as counsel for the Ortega family in the murder case against the Reyeses until it was filed in court.
He is also counsel for the Kilusan Love Malampaya (KLM), a Palawan-based civil society group and residents of Palawan who filed a petition with the Supreme Court to compel the government to give the province a 40-percent share of the Malampaya royalties, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Code.
The petition has been pending with the high court since it was filed nearly seven years ago.