I BELIEVE former Palawan governor Joel Reyes is innocent of the murder of Palawan broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega in January 2011. My studied opinion borne of research is that he was a victim of the alliance of a political overlord with an oligarch, in connivance with officials of the past Yellow regime.
I didn’t make this conclusion only with the Court of Appeals Special Division’s January 4 decision to drop the murder case against Reyes, on grounds that there was no evidence against him, and the sole accuser’s claims were “riddled with inconsistencies.”
I had the same conclusion seven years ago, when Reyes was first accused of the crime, which was explained in my column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer published on May 4, 2011, reproduced below. I had written the piece admittedly with some trepidation because I was the only writer to take such a stand – understandably because of the frenzy over the murder of a journalist. I cannot pretend that I am not relieved that a five-man court of justice has agreed with conclusions I made seven years ago.
The powerful Philippine Daily Inquirer at that time condemned Reyes in a ruthless trial by publicity. One of its reporters who returned to his Palawan home province as the paper’s correspondent there spewed so many articles that portrayed Reyes as a cold-blooded murderer, and claimed (in a complaint to PDI’s editors) that I was a paid hack.
The PDI reporter never disclosed that his book on Palawan was at that time being heavily financed by then Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Reyes’ political arch-enemy who had just two weeks after the murder accused him of the deed. The PDI and now Rappler, another Yellow media, obviously haven’t dropped their campaign against Reyes, as shown in its recent frontpages. (See accompanying image.)
Joining the Yellow Cult’s delirium against Reyes at the time, now Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque volunteered as a lawyer for the Ortega family. That is foul: he is dragging the Palace to join him in his former frenzy.
The Yellow Press, and the once-yellow Roque, are still after Reyes, despite a Court of Appeals ruling. Why are they reporting only the views of the minority dissenting opinions?
I believed Reyes was innocent for one major reason. The sole accuser was one Rodolfo Edrad, who claimed to have hired Ortega’s killers.Continue reading