Joel T. Reyes

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Mario Joel T. Reyes is a former Palawan governor and a former executive vice president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines.


Early life and education

Reyes was born in Coron, Palawan on 19 October 1952. He is the second child of Mario Palanca Reyes Sr. and Lualhati Tolentino. His siblings are Marilyn, Emma and Mario Jr. He is married to Clara Cruz Espiritu. Their children are Jacqueline, Mark Joel and Juan Miguel.

He graduated elementary from Claudio Sandoval Elementary School and secondary from St. Augustine Academy, both in Coron, Palawan. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the Far Eastern University (FEU). He also tried pursuing law studies at FEU up until his third year.


  • Board Member, 1st District, Palawan, February 1988- 16 March 1992
  • Vice Governor, Palawan, 1 July 1992- 30 June 1995
  • Vice Governor, Palawan, 1 July 1995- 30 June 1998
  • Vice Governor, Palawan, 1 July 1998- 24 July 2000
  • Provincial Governor, Palawan, 25 July 2000- 30 June 2001
  • Provincial Governor, Palawan, 1 July 2001- 30 June 2004
  • Provincial Governor, Palawan, 1 July 2004- 30 June 2007
  • Provincial Governor, Palawan, 1 July 2007- 30 June 2010
  • Chairman, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, 13 July 2007


  • Public Relations Officer, League of the Provinces of the Philippines, 1995-1998
  • National Vice-President, League of the Provinces of the Philippines, 1998-2001
  • Chairperson, Region IV, League of the Provinces of the Philippines, July 2001
  • Vice President, Luzon, League of the Provinces of the Philippines, July 2004
  • Chairperson, Region IV-B (Mimaropa), League of the Provinces of the Philippines, July 2004
  • Member, Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa City

Awards and recognition

  • Recipient of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from the Palawan State University, March 31, 2004
  • Most Outstanding Governor of the Philippines, 6th National Social Welfare and Development Forum, October 11, 2002
  • Blue Heart Award, Coastal Tourism Program, Feb. 21, 2002
  • Red Feather Leadership Award, Provincial Board Members Association of the Philippines, 1992


Graft and corruption charges were charged against Joel Reyes in 2008. The Calategas Irrigators Services Association (CISA) said Reyes and members of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), municipal council of Narra, the two House representatives and several others to the Office of the Ombudsman violated sections 3 (e) and (j) of Republic Act 3019 and section (e) of Republic Act 6713 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In the complaint affidavit filed by Teofilo Tredez and other farmers in Barangay Calategas, Narra, it was stated that the PCSD took for granted that the areas applied for by Patricia Louise Mining and Development Corporation (PLMDC), Narra Nickel Development Corporation (NNDMC) and Palawan Alpha South Resources Development Corporation (PASRDC) are within the “core zone” of the municipality that should not have any activity. Core zones refer to areas in Palawan which needs protection thus activities detrimental to their health such as mining are not allowed.

Reyes was accused of killing Dr. Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega, a radio broadcaster and environmentalist known for his strong stand against mining in Palawan. Arwin Arandia, who witnessed Ortega being shot on January 2011, said that Reyes was behind the killing. Patria Ortega, wife of Ortega, filed murder charges against Reyes together with former Marinduque Gov. Jose Carreon, and Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes Jr.

In October 2013, the Court of Appeals released a six-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan which clears fugitive and former Palawan Governor Reyes of murder charges for the killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011.

The CA Special Tenth Division voted 3-2 denying the motion for reconsideration filed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima after she failed to observe "proper procedural protocols" when the DOJ recommended murder charges against Reyes.

De Lima authorized a re-investigation and a second panel was formed even before any of the parties filed a petition for review. The CA said that there was no need to create a second panel at the time since neither party was deprived of their constitutional rights during the preliminary investigation by the first panel. The supposed additional evidence presented by the Ortega family, which includes text messages and recordings of the victim's radio broadcasts, should be deemed “forgotten evidence” and not new evidence to warrant the re-opening of the case. CA added that “The prosecutory arm of the state cannot be allowed to conducting one investigation after another until the desired end is achieved, lest, it may be perceived as a persecution rather than a criminal investigation.”

However, the arrest orders against Joel Reyes and his brother Mario, still stand as the decision did not mention that the arrest warrants for the Reyes brothers would be quashed.

The Ortega family and the DOJ will elevate the case before the Supreme Court.




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