Fugitive Filipino brothers nabbed in Thailand

Bangkok, Sep 22 (IANS) Two Filipino brothers wanted in their country over the murder of a prominent anti-corruption crusader, were arrested in Phuket – three years after they first came to Thailand, the media reported on Tuesday.

Joel Reyes, the former governor of Palawan island, and his brother Mario, a former town mayor, were arrested on Sunday and are now detained by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), The Nation online reported.

CSD commander Akkaradej Pimolsri said on Monday the Reyes brothers, who were in a mining business, were accused by the Philippine authorities of hiring a gunman to kill an environmentalist campaigning against a mine in 2011. The brothers fled to Thailand in 2012, entering the country without passing proper immigration process.

A source from the Philippine National Police’s Task Force said the Reyes brothers had long been wanted for the slaying of Palawan environmentalist and journalist Gerry Ortega.

The task force was in close coordination with Thai police, who are holding the brothers for eventual deportation, the source added.

In 2012, Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino offered a 2 million pesos ($120,080) reward for the arrest of the so-called “Big Five” – the Reyes brothers, army Maj-General Jovito Palparan, Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee and former Dinagat island representative Ruben Ecleo Jr.

Ecleo is the only one of the five who has escaped arrest to date.

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