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UPDATE: Long-term Filipino prisoner is back home after 26 years

15 October 2019

Mario delos Reyes, who was freed after 26 years behind bars in Stanley Prison, was seen off at Hong Kong International Airport on Oct. 22 by Consul Paul Saret, who also checked him in for his flight and and handed over some farewell gifts from friends. Mario was met in Manila by his wife, Gigi, and two of their three children. Mario now spends his time in the family home in Nueva Ecija receiving family and friends, writing, and catching up with modern technology.

A week before his release, Delos Reyes was received by Consul General Raly Tejada in his office

Mario is set for releaseBy Vir B. Lumicao

Mario delos Reyes, released recently from Hong Kong’s maximum security Stanley Prison but detained again at the Castle Peak Immigration Centre in Tuen Mun, may be flying home soon.

An Immigration officer who escorted Delos Reyes, 62, to the Consulate on Tuesday, Oct 15, to secure his one-way travel document told Consulate officers he would confirm the schedule the next day and inform the PCG. 

The officer was responding to Consul Paulo Saret's query on when he could hand Delos Reyes the presents from well-wishers, including The SUN, at the airport.

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Delos Reyes went to the Consulate around 2pm, which will allow him to return to his country after spending 26 years in Stanley following his conviction in 1994 on a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Saret, head of the assistance to national section, signed the travel document right beside Delos Reyes, who was having a late lunch of KFC friend chicken at ATN. He was accompanied by two Filipina detainees at CIC and three Immigration escorts.

Consul Paulo Saret says PCG took only minutes to issue the travel document

It took ATN only a few minutes to issue Delos Reyes the travel document, said Saret.

After his lunch, he was invited to the office of Consul General Raly Tejada, who wished him well for his release from prison.
The visit to the Consulate was Delos Reyes’ first travel outside CIC since his transfer there upon his release from Stanley on Oct 5, he said. He was visibly cheerful to be with Consulate staff and other Filipinos who were wishing him well.

But, asked how he felt after his release from Stanley, his answer was blunt: “Eto, galit, dahil hindi ako pinauwi agad nang lumabas ako.”

Delos Reyes with friends, DSWD attache Beth Dy and ATN's Saret and Arnel Deluna 

He said his family prepared a welcome party for him at their home in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, but were disappointed when they learned that he would not be flying back to Manila immediately.

“Akala nila ay makakauwi na ako, kasi wala na lang akong deportation order,” he said.
He said aside from the travel document, he is awaiting his release papers from Immigration’s word regarding a minor error in the typing of his family name.

He said on his Hong Kong ID, “delos” was spelled as one word, but in his Immigration records it was “de los”. He put the blame on the Hong Kong government for the mistake.

Delos Reyes, a contributor to The SUN even while behind bars, said he was not sure when his flight would be.It still depends on the Immigration Department, which will provide his air ticket, a PCG officer said..
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