Enrile legal tack leaves Gigi Reyes holding the bag
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s motion for a bill of particulars in his plunder case could leave his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, principally liable for the alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds, according to a private complainant in the P10-billion scam.
Levito Baligod, a former lawyer for the whistle-blowers, said in a text message to the Inquirer on the weekend that Reyes’ silence on Enrile’s petition for details of the charge against him could mean that she was the ultimate recipient of the P172 million in kickbacks that Enrile allegedly got.
“Enrile’s motion for a bill of particulars intends to highlight the fact that Reyes will be made principally liable for the plunder case because allegations point to her as the recipient of the kickbacks amounting to plunder level,” Baligod said.
A motion for a bill of particulars is filed to allow the petitioner to secure specific details of the crime imputed to him. In this case, the defendant believes he has not been sufficiently informed of the crime with which he has been charged and is not in a position to defend himself properly and adequately.
The Supreme Court granted Enrile’s petition to reverse a Sandiganbayan ruling dismissing his motion for a bill of particulars a week before he was granted bail and was temporarily freed while the plunder case against him is being tried.
Not his signature?
“If Reyes will keep silent on this point, she will be presumed to be the ultimate recipient of the kickbacks, hence the mastermind, and everybody else, including Enrile, maybe considered mere accomplices,” Baligod said.
Baligod assisted the National Bureau of Investigation in the preparation of the cases against those involved in the diversion of P10 billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a pork barrel, to ghost projects and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in schemes allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles is detained on a charge of serious illegal detention of his former finance officer, Benhur Luy, whose first lawyer was Baligod. Luy later testified against Napoles in the PDAF scam.
Napoles is also facing plunder charges, along with Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. Estrada and Revilla are also detained and have pending bail petitions in the Sandiganbayan.
Documents from the Commission on Audit (COA) that formed part of the evidence submitted by the NBI against Enrile showed that he admitted that it was his signature that appeared in the documents, which authorized Reyes to conduct transactions involving his PDAF allocations on his behalf.
“In the senator’s case, notice how he eventually denied what he earlier admitted to the COA as his signatures appearing in some liquidation documents and passed on to some of his legislative staff the responsibility in implementing his PDAF allocation,” Baligod said.
Who are they?
In his petition for a bill of particulars, Enrile asked for the identification of the people who received P172 million in alleged kickbacks from his PDAF allocations.
He also wanted to know the particular overt acts and the series of overt acts that those people allegedly committed.
The information stated that “by repeatedly receiving from Napoles and/or her representatives kickbacks, commissions before, during and/or after the project identification, Napoles gave Enrile and/or Reyes received, a percentage of the cost of a project to be funded from Enrile’s PDAF.”
Enrile also asked to know what was “repeatedly” received. If money, he wanted to know how much, and if on several occasions, when, how much, and where the money changed hands.
He also asked for the identification of the person who delivered and the person who received the money and how much it was.
Enrile also demanded to know the circumstances during, before and after the project identification, the name and nature of the project and where it was located.
He asked to be informed about the basis of the description of the projects as fictitious.
And he wanted to know how he took advantage of his position and why.
The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division denied the motion in July last year, saying the information that Enrile wanted would be better taken up during the trial.
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