THE FAMILY OF murdered Palawan broadcast journalist Gerry Ortega has filed a disbarment case against one of the defense lawyers in the Ortega murder case after finding out that the lawyer accompanied the two principal accused in their flight out of the country.
Mika Ortega, daughter of Doc Gerry Ortega, who was murdered in January 2011, asked the Supreme Court to disbar Atty. Hermie Aban for violation of the Rules of Court and the Code of Professional Responsibility of lawyers. Aban is the counsel of Arturo Regalado, one of the accused in the murder of Ortega.
In her complaint, Ortega said records would show that Aban appeared to have accompanied former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Mario Reyes in their flight to Vietnam, despite the warrants of arrest and the hold-departure order issued against them. In fact, Ortega said, airline records even showed that Aban was seated right beside the two Reyes brothers in the airplane.
Ortega said Aban “knowingly concealed from the Honorable Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court branch 52 of Puerto Princesa Palawan the whereabouts of accused Governor Mario Joel T. Reyes and Mayor Mario T. Reyes Jr despite Aban’s knowledge of the outstanding warrants of arrest and hold departure orders issued by the court against them.”
The two Reyes brothers had been tagged as the masterminds in the January 2011 murder of Doc Gerry Ortega in Puerto Princesa City. By March 2012, the Justice Department had already issued a hold-departure order against the two brothers. The Regional Trial Court of Palawan had also issued arrest warrants against the two.
However, immigration officials were surprised by reports that the former governor had slipped out of the country using a passport in the name of Joseph Lim Pe. Using false identities, Governor Reyes and his brother Mayor Reyes had flown to Vietnam in March 2012.
“To our utter surprise, respondent Atty Hermie Aban even accompanied accused Reyes brothers in their flight to Vietnam,” Ortega said in her complaint. “In fact, according to the Cebu Pacific passenger manifest, respondent Atty. Aban was reportedly seated on 29F, Governor Reyes on 29E, and Mayor Mario Reyes on 29D.”
“The Vietnam immigration office also confirmed that Mario T. Reyes Jr, Joseph Lim Pe, and Hermie Aban entered Ho Chi Minh City on 19 March 2012,” she added.
“This is not only a gross violation of his oath as a lawyer, but also a clear act of obstruction of justice,” Ortega said.
Read the administrative complaint here: