The IFJ joins its affiliate The
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in expressing outrage
at reports that former Palawan governor Joel Reyes has managed to leave the
Philippines on a fake passport.
On 27th March 2012, The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the City of Puerto Princesa
ordered the arrest of Reyes in association with the January 2011 murder of
broadcaster and environmentalist Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega.
However, in a Philippine Daily
Inquirer report of Monday 6th August, unnamed sources confirmed that
Reyes left the Philippines on March 18 on Cebu Pacific Flight 5J751 for Vietnam
using a passport in the name of Joseph Lim Pe, issued on February 3, 2012.
In an urgent
Memorandum dated 13 March 2012, Department of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima
instructed the Bureau of Immigration to include the Reyes in its Watchlist and
directed Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. “to instruct all immigration officers to be
on the lookout for the accused, should (any of them) pass through the
immigration counters in any of our international airports and/or seaports.”
If reports are correct, Reyes
left the country just one week before the Palawan regional trial court issued a
warrant for his arrest, raising concerns that Reyes was informed of the
government’s intentions and was assisted in acquiring a false passport.
The Philippines is among the most dangerous
countries in the world for media personnel. The IFJ issued an Action
President Benigno Aquino III upon his inauguration on June 30, 2010 calling on
his government to end the culture of impunity that has seen over 150 media
workers killed since the return of civilian rule in 1986.
Ortega, who was killed on 24 January 2011,
was the second journalist killed in the line of duty under the
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III administration. He was known for his environmental
and anti-mining advocacies.
implores President Benigno Aquino III to immediately order a thorough and
independent investigation and break the cycle of violence and impunity that has plagued the country
for so long,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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