Fugitive Reyes brothers could have flown to Thailand from Vietnam-A A +A
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
FUGITIVE brothers Joel Reyes and Mario Reyes could have transferred to Thailand from Vietnam after they allegedly left the Philippines in March this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters at the sidelines of the 72nd anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Immigration that based on the documents and coordination with the Vietnamese embassy, the siblings were already outside the country.
"From Vietnam, they went to Phuket, Thailand," she said.
But she added that there was no record as to whether the Reyeses already left Thailand or not.
"We are still validating all of these. This is not yet a definitive report. But that is being pursued discreetly but firmly," de Lima said.
She also said that those Immigration employees who could have facilitated the escape of the brothers were also being investigated.
President Benigno Aquino III, who led the agency's 72nd anniversary, agreed with the Justice official, even as he expressed his disappointment over the escape of the two former officials.
Joel is a former governor of Palawan, while Mario is a former mayor of the province's Coron town.
Aquino questioned how the two were able to leave the country when they are considered as high-profile fugitives.
The Reyeses allegedly escaped through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Also, Aquino noted how the two were able to flee last March 18 when a lookout bulletin was issued by De Lima last March 13.
The President said if the BI did its job well, the two were not able to escape even if they changed their identities and used faked documents.
The Reyes siblings were being accused of masterminding the murder of an environmentalist radio commentator Gerry Ortega.
The Aquino administration has placed a P2-million reward for the arrest of each of the Reyes brothers.
Despite the two fugitives' escape, Aquino is still confident that BI Commissioner Ricardo David and de Lima will be able to implement reforms and carry out the mandate of his administration.
He expressed support to BI's Development Plan until 2016, particularly by pushing the new Philippine Immigration Act to protect the country from trafficking in persons, transnational crimes, illegal drugs and terrorism.
Part of these changes also include building new facilities for the BI, modernizing the way BI conducts its business, and hiring new personnel to augment the bureau’s services, he said. (SDR/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)