Slain broadcaster's daughter seeks lawyer’s disbarment-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
THE daughter of slain radio broadcaster and environmental activist Gerry Ortega asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to disbar lawyer Hermie Aban, who was supposedly working with fugitive former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron mayor Mario Reyes.
The Reyes brothers were believed to have masterminded the murder of Ortega based on the accounts of witnesses and documentary evidence culled by the Department of Justice, which filed the charges before the Puerto Princesa regional trial court.
The trial court eventually issued a hold-departure order on all the accused, particularly the Reyeses.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier confirmed that the holder of the tampered electronic passport issued on a certain Joseph Lim Pe was indeed the former governor. Pe left the country on March 18, together with Mario Reyes and on the same flight as lawyer Hermie Aban, bound for Vietnam.
Citing the Cebu Pacific Passenger Manifest, complainant Michaela Ortega said that Aban was even seated beside the Reyes brothers in their flight to Vietnam, as confirmed by the Vietnam Immigration Office. Recently, the Reyes brothers were sighted in Thailand.
Ortega said Aban is liable for knowingly concealing the whereabouts of the Reyes brothers despite the standing warrants for their arrest.
"It is my family's belief that the Reyes brothers would not have been able to evade arrest if they were not, in any way, assisted unlawfully. It is fundamental to the battle we have waged against injustice to continue to hold the guilty liable to their actions," said Michaela Angeli Ortega in a statement.
In her 13-page complaint-affidavit filed at the Supreme Court’s Office of the Bar Confidant, Ortega asked the High Court to conduct an administrative probe into the possible liabilities of Aban, whom she alleged to be instrumental in enabling the Reyes brothers to leave the country to evade arrest, and who had even gone with them.
Ortega said that during the court hearings last April 26, May 29 and June 8, Aban entered his appearance as counsel for accused Arturo Regalado, and who even filed a petition in court to post bail on behalf of Regalado, but he never once mentioned about the whereabouts of the accused Reyes brothers.
Aside from the arrest warrants and HDO issued by a Puerto Princesa court, Aban also disregarded the government's bounty for the capture of the accused brothers, in addition to the International Police's Red Notice and the cancellation of their passports for being fugitives from justice.
With his silence, the government was led to believe that they were just hiding in the country, when Aban knew for a fact that they had already escaped to elude arrest.
For this, Ortega said Aban grossly violated the Code of Professional Responsibility, and is even liable for obstruction of justice.
"His act of aiding the escape of these two accused and subsequent concealment of their whereabouts is clearly an obstruction of justice for which he should be criminally held liable. The fact that he is a member of the bar aggravates this offense, rendering him unworthy to be part of the very noble profession," the complaint stated. (JCV/Sunnex)