January 12, 2018

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan on Thursday deferred its ruling on the Office of the Ombudsman’s motion for the rearrest of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes.

It was giving Reyes until Jan. 15 to respond to the motion to cancel his bail in relation to his graft conviction over an anomalous renewal of a mining permit.

“(Reyes) has the right to be heard,” said Third Division Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.

In an ambush interview after the hearing, Reyes assured that he will not leave the Philippines pending the resolution of his appeal for his graft conviction.

Hindi po ako aalis ng bansa. Nandito po ako. Naniniwala ako sa rule of law,” he said. “Kaya lamang ako umalis ng bansa noong 2012 dahil nakakatanggap ako ng death threats dahil sa pulitika.”

In an urgent motion on Wednesday, the Ombudsman asked the Sandiganbayan to cancel Reyes’ bail to prevent him from escaping like he did when he was facing a murder charge for the death of broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

Reyes was convicted for graft last year for the renewal of the small-scale mining permit of the Olympic Mines and Development Corp., which allegedly violated mining laws, for the period April 6, 2006 to April 5, 2008.

The Sandiganbayan Third Division meted out a prison term of six to eight years against the former governor but the latter has posted bail./PN


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