THE Sandiganbayan anti-graft court’s Third Division has granted the prosecution’s plea to cancel the bail of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his immediate commitment to prison “in view of his conviction” of graft in connection with the renewal of a firm’s small-scale mining permit in 2006.
“Consequently, the grant of bail to accused Joel T. Reyes is hereby revoked,” the court said in a resolution dated January 17 that was released to media on Monday.
It ordered the issuance of an arrest warrant against him.
“There are established and admitted facts in this case that justify the revocation of the bail granted to accused Reyes,” the court said.
“Evidently, there are two (2) circumstances extant in the record of this case, i.e.,  accused Reyes violated the conditions of his bail without any valid justification after he failed to appear in Court despite a directive to him to do so, and,  there is probability of flight if he were allowed to remain on provisional liberty given his record of having been a fugitive from justice. The presence of these circumstances compels the Court to apply the more stringent-standards approach in determining whether to revoke the grant of bail to accused Reyes,” it added.
According to the resolution, Reyes failed to appear during the hearings scheduled on October 22 and 23, 2013 despite the court’s directive.
The court stood pat on its ruling that convicted Reyes of graft, in a resolution promulgated on January 25.
Reyes surrendered to the Sandiganbayan on Monday.
“I am showing respect for the court’s decision. I will face whatever I need to face,” Reyes told reporters.
“All I can say is I respect the decision of the Third Division, and I am showing them that I am not a flight risk. I am here and I will face this. Perhaps at the right time, in the proper forum, our lawyers will address that,” he added.
Reyes is the principal suspect in the killing of environment advocate and broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
Earlier this month, a Court of Appeals special division said there was no evidence against the former governor aside from the testimony of Rodolfo Edrad Jr. alias Bumar, a former bodyguard of Reyes who was allegedly instructed by the former governor to form a team that would kill Ortega.
The appellate court found Edrad’s testimony riddled with inconsistencies, saying it cannot be “validly used as evidence against Reyes.”