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MANILA, Philippines [UPDATED] – Palawan Vice Governor Clara “Fems” Reyes has denied allegations linking her to those behind the recent explosions in the island province.
She also defended her husband, former Palawan Gov Joel Reyes, who has gone into hiding following murder charges against him. He’s hiding due to threats to his life, she told reporters.
“He is not hiding to avoid justice. He will come out in due time — once the threats have subsided,” the vice governor told reporters during a break of the regular session of the provincial board Tuesday, April 10.
Asked what specific threats were directed against her husband and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, who are both subjects of an arrest warrant issued by Palawan judge Angelo Arizala, Reyes cited messages which she said were posted on the social networking site Facebook “by people we don’t even know.”
“Kawawang mga anak ni JTR (Joel T. Reyes) na nagnakaw sa bayan…
dapat i-shoot to kill kasama ang asawa at mga anak. Sana lumaban sila sa pulis para pagbabarilin sila sa noo,” the alleged threat message read by the vice governor said.
Reyes is the wife of fugitive former Palawan Gov Joel Reyes, who’s charged with murder for allegedly plotting the killing of broadcaster Dr Gerry Ortega.
Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn said Hiya Hassan, the suspect in the April 5 bombing in Puerto Princesa who is now detained, has admitted working as a casual employee for Mrs Reyes.
Hassan, who was initially traced as the alleged source of scare text messages sent to bus companies, was arrested Sunday, April 8, while attending a meeting between Hagedorn and the so-called Palawan Islamic Association.
Not an employee
“Please allow us to clear this issue,” said a separate statement issued by Mrs Reyes’s chief of staff, Raymundo Padrones Jr. “As per our record, Mr Hassan has never been employed in the Office of the Vice Governor since (she assumed her post in) July 1, 2010.”
“I am appealing to everyone to refrain from making speculations or insinuations on the incident and blaming the same to a particular person until a thorough investigation has been conducted,” Padrones added.
Padrones said that linking the vice governor to the bombing incidents and to Hassan has “no basis and is a libelous insinuation.” It’s concocted by “individuals with vested interest,” the statement added.
Hagedorn and the Reyeses are bitter political enemies in Palawan.
Meanwhile, the Ortega family’s counsel, Alex Avisado, described the reported threats against the Reyeses as “imagined.”
“Gov. Joel Reyes and Mayor Marjo Reyes should surrender without setting any condition. They should show respect to the rule of law. They filed their petition with the Court of Appeals last October 3, 2011 and up to now they failed to secure a TRO or any preliminary injunction. These alleged threats to their lives are more imagined than real. The family of Dr Gerry Ortega wants them alive so they can stand trial for his murder,” Avisado said in a text message.
Asked if she knew where her husband is hiding, the vice governor said
“I don’t know where he is, even if you submit me to any test. The last
time I saw him, hindi ko alam ano balak nya (I was unaware of his plans). Bigla na lang syang umalis ng bahay (He suddenly left the house). He was enjoying his life as a private and it is now very strange that now that he is a private citizen ngayon pa lalabas ang mga accusations sa kanya,” she said. – Rappler.com
(We earlier wrote in this story that the office of the vice governor admitted that Hassan is one of its employees. We regret the error. – Eds)