MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into a possible violation of former Makati City Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado of his undertaking with the WPP.
This, after reports came out that Mercado allegedly communicated with ex-Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, while the brothers were still at-large on murder charges for the killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said these reports have to be verified before any action should be taken on the matter.
“I told the WPP office na tingnan kung may basehan yun. WPP matters are very sensitive matters, and we can’t just be acting on reports na unverified pa. Unless and until we see something concrete na ganun nga, hindi naman basta basta na mag-aaksyun na,” De Lima said.
The Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines (WAP) sought Mercado’s dismissal from the WPP. Under the WPP act, witnesses under the program agree to specified restrictions.
The Reyes brothers were recently arrested in Phuket, Thailand; they are now detained to face trial before the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 52 for Ortega’s killing in 2012. (MNS)