Joel Reyes meets his supporters and hosted a lunch with his political allies in his residence in Purok El Rancho, Brgy. Sta. Monica, marking his in-person campaign for the gubernatorial race. (Palawan News file photo)

In the latest legal twist in the 11-year old Dr. Gerry Ortega murder case, the Supreme Court (SC) on March 23 issued a temporary restraining order on the Palawan court to prevent the serving of an arrest warrant against former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes, the accused mastermind.

The TRO orders Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Palawan to suspend the implementation of the arrest warrant against Reyes for the 2011 murder of broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega.

The SC ruling also supported the Court of Appeal’s (CA) previous dismissal of the murder case against him, which the high court previously overturned.

Reyes flew from Manila to Puerto Princesa City on Sunday and headed straight to a local church to attend a service.

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“Hindi ko inisip o nasa kathang isip ko na makakasama at makakabalik ako dito. Pero noong March 23 ang Supreme Court second division ay nag-promulgate ng decision at ginrant yung motion for reconsideration, ni-lift yung warrant of arrest ni-reinstate yung dismissal ng case ko sa Court of Appeals at nag-issue ng temporary restraining order,” Reyes said in interviews with members of the local media.

“Immediately, tinanggal na sa internet o sa computer nila, ni-lift na yung warrant. May kopya na rin ang law enforcement agency, Provincial PNP, City PNP, CIDG, NBI. Pero naniniguro ako, sinama ko yung binata kong abogado,” he added.

A copy of the decision of the SC ordered the following: “Grant the motion for reconsideration; Reinstate the petition and require the respondent to file comment thereon within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice; and Issue, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, a temporary restraining order enjoining the RTC, Br. 52, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from implementing a warrant of arrest against herein petitioner and from conducting further proceedings in Crim. Case No. 26839, pending the final adjudication of the instant case”.

Reyes’ legal counsel, Atty. Joaquin Hizon, explained that they filed a request with the SC for a petition for review of its ruling to reject the CA’s previous decision acquitting his client of Ortega’s murder.

“Yon ay bunga ng aming motion for reconsideration na naisampa sa SC na humihingi ng isa pang pagkakataon para pag-aralan yong aming petition for review na humihingi na baligtarin yong Court of Appeals decision na ibinalik yong kaso laban kay governor Joel Reyes,” he said.

“Yon yong nakasampa ngayon sa Supreme Court. Habang yon ay pinag-aaralan ng Supreme Court, meron tayong TRO sa korte at sa implementing agencies ng gobyerno,” Hizon added.

Reyes said that he is on his way to Roxas, where he will begin his gubernatorial campaign.

He thanked his followers for risking their government jobs to back his political comeback.

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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.