• De Lima starts review of Ortega slay case

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    JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima and a team of government lawyers are now studying the legal implications of granting a review and probably reversing the controversial decision that initially favored the alleged masterminds in the killing of environmentalist Dr. Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega.

    The results of the department review may be presented in two weeks, around the time that the Justice chief is expected to leave her post in favor of a Senate run.

    “She told me that they are studying it again. There’s still around two weeks. I hope she resolves it within that time,” Michaella “Mika” Ortega, the slain journalist’s daughter, told The Manila Times in an interview on Monday.

    The Ortegas, through their lawyers, have asked De Lima to review the ruling of the first panel of prosecutors that cleared brothers Joel and Mario Reyes.

    But because of mounting public pressure, De Lima formed a second panel to reinvestigate the case on March 12, 2012 by virtue of order No. 710. The Court of Appeals (CA), however, declared the second order “null and void” and upheld the findings of the first panel.

    Mika said they met the Justice secretary last week to follow up on her father’s case. The meeting came just as the Reyeses were being flown in from Phuket, Thailand, where they were arrested for overstaying.

    “We are really very hopeful,” she added.

    The Reyeses are set to be arraigned on October 2, Friday, for the killing of the Ortega patriarch.

    “Right now they are still at the city jail. So we are okay with that. But they will try to post bail, get transferred to Manila or get hospital arrest. Those are the things we will oppose,” the younger Ortega said.

    On Sunday, Malacañang said sanctions should be meted on the jail officials who allowed reporters to interview the former Palawan governor and his brother.

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