MALACAÑANG on Sunday said sanctions should be meted against the warden of the Puerto Princesa City Jail after he purportedly allowed reporters to interview former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the move was tantamount to defying Malacañang’s standing orders not to give special treatment to the alleged masterminds in the killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega.
Coloma, in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said the Reyeses are ordinary “detention prisoners” and should be treated as such.
“The Reyes brothers are detention prisoners; hence, only the court where the case is pending can issue the necessary permission,” Coloma said in reaction to queries on whether Supt. Don Paredes should be held accountable for allowing the Reyeses to hold a press conference without court permission.
“The DOJ (Department of Justice) and the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) are looking into this matter and will take the necessary action, including the possible filing of appropriate cases against those involved,” stressed Coloma.
Malacañang has repeatedly expressed opposition to allowing the suspects to undergo hospital arrest or be accorded VIP treatment.
“As to the request for hospital arrest, Secretary (Leila) de Lima has stated the government’s opposition to any such motion,” Coloma further said.
Ortega’s widow, Patria, complained that she and other members of the family were not allowed to go inside the detention facility while reporters were even invited to interview the detainees.
Earlier, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the government has a strong case against the Reyeses.
“[Justice] Secretary [Leila] de Lima will have a strong position on that,” Valte said.
The Reyeses were scheduled to face the Puerto Princesa City Regional Trial Court on Monday.
They arrived in Puerto Princesa City on Friday afternoon a few hours after they were deported from Thailand where they had been arrested for violating Thai residency laws.
Valte also cited information indicating the brothers lived lavishly, like tourists, while they were in hiding in Phuket, Thailand.