What Went Before: Gigi Reyes as Enrile’s coaccused
In June last year, the Office of the Ombudsman filed plunder and graft charges in the Sandiganbayan against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and other government officials in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff, is a coaccused in the plunder and graft cases against the senator. They were accused of pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks from ghost projects allegedly funded by the senator’s allocation from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2004 to 2010.
Reyes, who turned herself in to the Sandiganbayan on July 4 last year, is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology female dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, unlike Enrile, who had been confined at Philippine National Police General Hospital at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Days after her surrender, Reyes filed in the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition, in which she claimed that the plunder and graft charges against her lacked probable cause.
Citing grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction, Reyes asked the high court to nullify and set aside the Sandiganbayan Third Division’s resolutions, which adopted the Ombudsman’s indictment of Reyes for plunder and 15 counts of violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
Reyes’ petition also sought a temporary restraining order or a preliminary writ of injunction “to enjoin the respondent Sandiganbayan Third Division from proceeding with the case and from continuing with the detention of petitioner.”
The 52-year-old Reyes had disappeared for eight months after the pork barrel scandal broke out. She returned home on April 19 on a flight from San Francisco last year to face the plunder charges against her.
A lawyer, Reyes worked for Enrile during his two terms as senator—from July 1995 to June 2001 and from 2004 to January 2013—when she resigned after publicly accusing in a radio interview that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was a “hypocrite” for criticizing Enrile’s allegedly uneven distribution of the senators’ Christmas bonuses.
Before her resignation, Reyes was widely regarded as the “25th senator” for her purported influence in Congress as a stern, no-nonsense aide to Enrile.
Reyes has sought to downplay her role in Enrile’s office. She claimed to merely represent Enrile in meetings and conferences, step in as check signatory, monitor and supervise legislation, evaluate proposed bills and help her boss conduct public hearings and floor debates.–Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives
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