THE prosecution reiterated its plea for the Sandiganbayan Third Division to grant its motion to cancel former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes’ bail and imprison him immediately “in view of his conviction” of graft in 2006.
Reyes’s camp has filed an Opposition to the motion, arguing that he “is not a flight risk.”
“Undoubtedly, the facts culled from the records of the case belie the claim of accused Reyes that he has always been respectful of the Honorable Court and its processes, considering that on several instances, he had defied the directives of the Honorable Court and violated the terms of his provisional liberty. He was a fugitive until he was arrested by Thai authorities and deported back to the Philippines,” the prosecution said in part in a Reply to the Opposition.
Last year, the anti-graft court allowed Reyes to post bail pending appeal of his conviction in connection with the renewal of a firm’s small scale mining permit (SSMP).
“As it happened, the Honorable Court chose to exercise its discretion and grant accused Reyes’ motion for bail. The prosecution, however, submits that the Honorable Court can equally exercise its discretion to cancel the bail, particularly when circumstances necessarily call for it. It is of no moment that the prosecution did not ask for a reconsideration of the previous order. Rather, it is the fact that the circumstances of the accused on which the Honorable Court relied upon in granting his bail have now changed and the probability of flight is strong such that justifies the Honorable Court to legally take action and revoke its previous order,” the prosecution said in part in its Reply.
The prosecution said (in its motion) that the court allowed Reyes to post bail after his conviction “relying on the fact that” he was detained over the murder case which was filed against him in connection with the death in 2011 of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
In its Reply, the prosecution argued that the court no longer has physical hold on Reyes because he was no longer detained.
He was released on January 5 from the Puerto Princesa City Jail after the Court of Appeals (CA) granted his petition, which challenged the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 52’s finding of probable cause in the Ortega murder case.
After his release from detention, the prosecution sought the cancelation of Reyes’s bail and his immediate commitment to prison “in view of his conviction” in the graft case which was filed in 2011 against him and another individual in connection with the renewal of a firm’s SSMP in 2006.
The anti-graft court convicted Reyes in 2017 and sentenced him from six years up to eight years in prison with perpetual disqualification from holding public office. The court has yet to rule on the motion for reconsideration.
Meanwhile, the court acquitted Andronico Baguyo — who was then a mining operations officer and then-head of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board Technical Secretariat — for the prosecution’s failure to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO