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As far as Malacanang is concerned, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and brother former Coron mayor Mario Reyes should not be allowed to be placed under hospital detention.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday the Palace was expecting the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue a strong opposition against the plan of Reyes brothers.

“Secretary (Leila) de Lima will have a strong position on that,” Valte said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

Valte stressed earlier reports that the two allegedly lived like tourists while they were in hiding in Phuket, Thailand.

The brothers fled the country in 2012 after the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordered their arrest for the killing of environmentalist and journalist Gerry Ortega in January 2011.

They were arrested in Thailand last Sunday and were flown back to Puerto Princesa Friday. They said they have asked their lawyers to ask the court to grant them hospital arrest while undergoing trial.

“Hayaan na lang po nating mag-decide ang ating Justice department, lalo na Palawan RTC (regional trial court) ang may jurisdiction na po doon sa magkapatid na Reyes. Certainly, the prosecutors will have something to say about their proposed motion to file for hospital arrest, dahil alam naman po natin na bago po sila [umuwi] very recently ay parang mga turista po ang kanilang pamumuhay doon sa Thailand,” Valte said.

She, meanwhile, assured that the case of Reyes would not be neglected despite the resignation of De Lima.

“Yes, of course, you have an assurance,” she said adding that cases of other high-profile fugitives who are part of the so-called Big Five would also be top priority.

Valte, however, declined to confirm whether de Lima would be replaced by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Benjamin Caguioa.

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