Gigi Reyes: Betrayal of Enrile’s camp
Lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, the once powerful former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile expressed hurt over the statement of Enrile’s lawyer that showed his camp was distancing itself from her role in the pork barrel scam.
“THE WORST BLOW HAS JUST BEEN DEALT UPON ME BY LESS THAN THE CAMP OF SENATOR JUAN PONCE ENRILE—THE MAN I SERVED WITH FULL DEDICATION, HONESTY AND LOYALTY FOR 25 YEARS,” an ABS-CBN report quoted what it said was Reyes’ statement posted in her Facebook account. That portion of the statement was in all caps for emphasis. “If indeed these statements are sanctioned by or coming from my former boss, then nothing can be worse than this kind of betrayal.”
Enrile’s lawyer Enrique de la Cruz had said earlier that Enrile did not give his blessings to what Reyes had done in the releases of his pork barrel funds.
Enrile was among the three senators whom the National Bureau of Investigation had charged for plunder in the P10-billion pork barrel scam engineered by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Reyes, who had been called the 25th senator because of the power and influence she had when Enrile was Senate President, was also charged by the NBI with plunder. She left the country on Aug. 31 before the NBI filed the cases in the Ombudsman.
Reyes, according to the report, said “this very tragic development is beyond my comprehension.”
Reyes was quoted in the report as saying the last time she spoke with Enrile was from abroad and that he told her they would face the charges together.
“He maintained that he will stand by the authority he issued to me and that all I did was faithful and pursuant to his instructions. He even told me to be strong; that we will fight together to prove the accusations against us are false and fabricated,” Reyes was quoted as saying in her Facebook post.
“I never once thought that this day would come. I never stepped on anyone’s toes nor abused my position in all the years I served in the Senate. But I have earned the bitter ire and enmity of some people by and large because and in defense of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile,” she said.
Enrile had described Reyes, who served him for 25 years, as his eyes and ears.
Reyes said she left the country “to seek some peace and quiet amid the barrage of adverse and downright insulting publicity and commentary against me in the mainstream and social media.”
She hit the Inquirer for allegedly having an “ax to grind” against her and for being “especially cruel.”
Reyes resigned as Enrile’s chief of staff in late January after the Inquirer exposed Enrile’s distribution of extra cash gifts to senators friendly to him. Enrile later resigned the Senate presidency himself after defending himself from that controversy.
Letter from Reyes
Inquirer had obtained a copy of a letter of Reyes, then chief of staff Enrile, dated Feb. 4, 2008, addressed to then Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap informing him that Enrile had allotted P25 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to National AgriBusiness Corp. (Nabcor).
“The PDAF is for the implementation of various agribusiness, livelihood projects in different municipalities as per attached special allotment release order,” Reyes said in her letter.
“We wish to implement these projects through Nabcor as attached agency of DA (Department of Agriculture),” she said.
In the same letter, Reyes said that her deputy chief of staff, Jose Antonio Evangelista, was assigned the authority “to sign and follow up the project to ensure proper and timely implementation.”
Another document showed Evangelista’s letter to then Nabcor president Allan Javellana informing him that Enrile’s office was designating the People’s Organization Progress and Development Foundation (POPDF) as the implementing NGO for the project that would be financed with Enrile’s pork.
The letter said the POFDF, an agency controlled by Napoles, was “a duly registered nongovernment organization” and should be “your conduit in the implementation of the said project.”
A stamp on the document showed that Nabcor received Evangelista’s letter on Feb. 11, 2008, and was paid on March 11, 2008.
A handwritten check number appears on the lower part of the letter.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.