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Reyes brothers arrive today

A TEAM from Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has been sent to Thailand to fetch former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes who is expected to be deported back to the country to face charges for the killing of journalist Gerry Ortega.

Secretary Leila de Lima said on Wednesday the Reyes brothers are expected back in the country on Thursday upon completion of deportation proceedings.

“The CIDG team will subsequently escort them [Reyes brothers] back to the Philippines. The team can be considered as the arresting team and therefore they have to make a return of the service of the warrant of arrest to the Palawan court,” De Lima said.

She said the Reyes brothers will either be brought to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame or directly to the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court.

In the same interview, De Lima rejected the request of the Ortega family for her to resolve their pending petition questioning the first resolution of prosecutors dismissing the murder charges against the Reyes brothers.

“While I would like to grant their plea, it will be hard for us because it would jeopardize our pending petition in the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeals ruling,” she said.

She noted that the DoJ has stood by the validity of its creation of a second panel of prosecutors that indicted the Reyes brothers for murder and resolving the petition for review could be a retraction of such stance.

“If we resolve the petition, we will have to withdraw our petition in the SC,” De Lima said.

In March 2013, the CA granted the petition of the former governor and reinstated the first DoJ resolution clearing the two brothers of the murder charges for insufficiency of evidence.

The appellate court had ruled that instead of creating a second panel of investigators, Secretary De Lima should have reviewed the case herself.

The former mayor had also been cleared by another division of the CA.

Meanwhile, the Reyes brothers’ lawyer questioned the arrest and deportation of his clients, arguing that because of the CA ruling, which has not been reversed by the SC, the warrant of arrest against the Reyes brothers “are thus void from the beginning.”

“They should be set free at once if there is any semblance of impartial justice in this country. We insist in the innocence of the Reyes Brothers and we stand ready to defend them vigorously in any fair and square hearing untainted by political pressure and undue influence,” he said in a statement.

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