- Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, hits Senator Franklin Drilon and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for ‘epal’ remarks
- Topacio, counsel for the Reyes brothers linked to killing Gerry Ortega, accuse the two of using the case for political mileage
- Topacio argues that the arrest of his clients are illegal
MANILA- Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio slammed Senate President Franklin Drilon and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for their alleged ‘epal’ remarks on his client’s arrest.
For Topacio, the statements of the two personalities, were mere political stance in time for the national elections.
“It is regrettable that since it is politicial season, many are jumping in to make ‘epal’ on the repatriation of our client, Governor Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and its relation to the murder charges filed against them allegedly for the death of former Board Member Gerry Ortega,” he said, wrote Tetch Torres-Tupas of Inquirer.
De Lima has confirmed the arrest of the brothers in Phuket, Thailand and said the defendants will arrive on Thursday. Drilon, on the other hand, said there is a legal basis for the deportation of the Reyes brothers as he cited a 1981 Treaty between Thailand and the Philippines.
Topacio argued that the Court of Appeals has two separate rulings in two divisions which clearly eliminate the basis for the arrest of his clients. The lawyer cited the two separate rulings of the CA in 2013 wherein it upheld the first Department of Justice panel’s 2013 order to clear the brothers in the murder of Ortega.
He said that with the appeal court ruling, the warrants of arrest against his clients are illegal because there is no probable cause, in the first place. Topacio demanded that his clients be released immediately.
“We insist in the innocence of the Reyes Brothers and we stand ready to defend them vigorously in any fair and square hearing untainted by political pressure and undue influence,” he added.
However, de Lima said the warrants for the brothers are still valid given that the courts has not issued an order to revoke it. She pointed out that the CA ruling nullifying her creation of the panel she created did not lift the arrest warrants against the suspects.
Meanwhile, Ortega’s family challenged De Lima to resolve a petition that will ensure the continuation of the trial at the Palawan regional trial court. Patty, Ortega’s wife, expressed her concern about the possible outcome of the legal issue being raised at the Supreme Court by Reyes, questioning the justice secretary’s creation of a second panel of prosecutors that indicted the suspects in the murder in 2012, reported Jerome Aning and Redempto Anda for Inquirer.
She added that the suspects want the highest court to invalidate the ongoing trial and nullify their warrant of arrest.