Former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes

Former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes, who has a standing warrant of arrest for the 2011 Ortega murder slay, is returning to politics.

Joining the gubernatorial race, he officially filed his certificate of candidacy for governor on the last day of filing, Friday, October 8, through his representative Rolando Bonoan Jr.

Bonoan clarified that Reyes would present himself to the Palawan court to effect the arrest depending “on the advise of counsel”, explaining that he is still seeking to quash the warrant and will exhaust all legal means.

Reyes’s COC, who had a standing warrant of arrest issued by a Palawan court in July 2021, was notarized in Manila on September 22.

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Bonoan, a former provincial board member and provincial information officer, said Reyes has “no intentions of escaping” as he runs to be Palawan’s chief executive, a post he previously held from 2001 to 2010.

Reyes is being alleged as the mastermind on the decade-old Ortega murder slay case, along with his brother, Mario T. Reyes, incumbent Coron town mayor, who earlier this week has also filed his COC seeking re-election for his third term.

P/Capt. Ervin Plando, chief of Coron municipal police station, on Monday, said the local police is in “continuous monitoring” of Reyes’ rumored presence in Coron.

This, after also confirming that Reyes went to Coron along with his “investor friends” in April 2021, during the peak of travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, after being released from prison in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

“Nasa labas na rin ang aming mga intel personnel para i-monitor siya pero so far walang pang positive indications na dito siya sa area,” Plando said.

The Palawan court on July 14 has issued a fresh warrant of arrest against Reyes for the 2011 murder of broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega.

Ortega was an environmentalist and a radio broadcaster who was gunned down in a thrift shop near his veterinary clinic on January 24, 2011.

Reyes was implicated as the mastermind behind the murder by his former security aide, Rodolfo Edrad Jr., who last month claimed harassment and threats after a strafing incident in his house in Pagbilao, Quezon. (with reports from Rachel Ganancial and Arphil Ballarta)

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.