Early in 1998, rumors flew that Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was having a romantic relationship with his chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, about 30 years his junior.
Enrile’s wife Cristina reportedly walked out on him and moved to the United States. Being a politician’s wife had taken a toll on her, she said. She pleaded with Enrile to let her go.
However, a Chicago Tribune report in 1998 said that Cristina left Enrile following an adultery charge. Reyes was reported to be the “other woman.”
Love in pocket
To stop the rumors, Enrile gave an interview to the Philippine Daily Inquirer and talked about his marriage.
“I thought I had the love of my wife in my pocket, only to be told in the early part of December that she didn’t love me anymore. It was a jolt. I’ve never loved another woman other than my wife,” he said.
Enrile said that the rumor about Reyes was just part of an “incidental trigger” to dissolve his marriage.
He described Reyes as someone who fit his concept of a subordinate and shared the same mannerisms and style. They are both straightforward, he said.
The two met after Reyes obtained her law degree from the University of the Philippines in 1988 and joined the law firm of Pecabar (Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes, Manalastas).
“I call her up everyday, even in the wee hours if I suddenly think of something I need to have ready the following day. She takes care of everything for me. I have no time for details,” Enrile said.
Enrile tagged as a concoction blind items in newspapers about Cristina finding him and Reyes in bed and being caught in the act in the hospital.
He shrugged off rumors that he had caused the appointment of Reyes’ husband Rodolfo, also a lawyer, to the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority to get him out of town a lot. The senator authored the law creating the free port in his home province.
Following the denials, the husband faxed a statement to reporters declaring that he “absolutely has no doubt that there is nothing going on” between his wife and Enrile, “except for a professional relationship and a strong friendship which my family is fortunate to have with the good senator.”
Rodolfo “Inky” Reyes said his wife had done nothing wrong except be a loyal, trustworthy and dedicated chief of staff to Enrile, a position she held since 1995. He said Enrile was “decent in his dealings with my wife, myself and our family.”
“I am positively sure that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt us or our marriage,” the husband said then.
Today, Gigi and Inky are no longer married to each other. Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives, website of Dario, Reyes, Hocson and Viado Law Firm