IFJ calls for an immediate investigation following reports that ex-Governor Joel Reyes has left the Philippines on a fake passport

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

Plan to

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. 

 

 “The IFJ

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.  

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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