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Panong nakalaya yan? Winnie Monsod lists reasons why CA decision clearing Joel Reyes is ‘a load of bollocks’

Panong nakalaya yan? Winnie Monsod lists reasons why CA decision clearing Joel Reyes is 'a load of bollocks'

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Former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod is aghast at the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision clearing former Palawan governor Joel Reyes of involvement in the 2011 killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

In her January 13 column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monsod listed several reasons why the CA’s decision was a “load of bollocks” since the testimony of one of the suspects in Ortega’s killing was supposedly riddled with inconsistencies.

For starters, the University of the Philippines economics professor said former Marine Rodolfo Edrad Jr., the leader of the team which carried out Ortega’s killing in Puerto Princesa City, pointed to Reyes and his brother, Mario, as well as former Marinduque governor Antonio Carrion as the one who hired him for the job.

Edrad told the court that Reyes gave him a “mobilization fund” to hire killers to take Ortega down. The former governor said Edrad could not do the job because they were too close and he might be implicated.

On the afternoon that Ortega was killed Edrad said he went to Reyes’ house in Alabang to receive the P500,000 remainder of the payment for the killing.

In Reyes’ defense, he claimed that Edrad was a “casual acquaintance” he gave “balato” and “pambigas-bigas” to.

It’s an excuse which Monsod found incredulous.

“Really? Then why were there 41 texts sent from Reyes’ cell phone to Edrad’s cell phone from December 2010 to early February 2011 (two months), and 16 texts from Reyes to Edrad on Jan. 24, 2011 (the day Ortega was killed), alone? This list of texts was provided by Globe under subpoena from the National Bureau of Investigation. How does the CA explain that?” she asked.

Monsod said Edrad also mentioned an aborted assassination attempt on Ortega during the holiday season of 2010.

In addition, Monsod said Reyes’ claim that he only gave P5,000 to Edrad on the day Ortega was assassinated defies logic.

“Reader, do you think Edrad would rent a van and come all the way from the province of Quezon to Alabang in Muntinlupa just to collect P5,000? The van rental would cost more,” she said.

Quoting former national security adviser Jose Almonte, Monsod said the CA’s decision freeing Reyes is proof that the Philippines “has the best justice system that money can buy.”

“It is not even a question of having good and pricey lawyers. It is about direct transactions with the decision-makers, who can be depended upon to justify their decisions even if it means turning logical cartwheels and relying on technicalities,” she said.