Gigi Reyes, 11 others dismissed for role in pork barrel scam
Detained lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, the chief of staff of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and 11 others were ordered dismissed from service by the Ombudsman for their alleged role in the pork barrel scam.
In a statement on Monday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Reyes and 11 others were found guilty of the administrative offense of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Dishonesty.
Besides Reyes, the other dismissed officials were Jose Antonio Evangelista II (Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Enrile), Victor Roman Cacal (Paralegal, National Agribusiness Corporation), Gondelina Amata (President, National Livelihood Development Corporation), Chita Jalandoni (Department Manager III, NLDC), Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal (Director IV, NLDC), Ofelia Ordoñez (Cashier, NLDC), Filipina Rodriguez (Budget Officer, NLDC), Sofia Cruz (Project Development Assistant IV), Dennis Cunanan (Director General, Technology Resource Center), Consuelo Lilian Espiritu (Budget Officer, TRC) and Marivic Jover (Chief Accountant, TRC).
They were also penalized with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of all retirement benefits.
In the event of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondent’s salary for one year.
Ombudsman investigation showed that Enrile from 2004 to 2010 endorsed his pork barrel projects to bogus non-government organizations linked to accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
The Ombudsman said Enrile through Reyes authorized Evangelista to act for the senator in dealing with the parties involved in the ghost implementation of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) projects.
Enrile’s P345 million PDAF was allegedly used to buy tools and implements, financial grants and subsidies, technical assistance technology transfer through video courses (VCDs), printed materials, vegetable seeds, hand tools, gloves, masks, vests, caps, garden tools, knapsack sprayers, fertilizer, gardening packages, rakes, agricultural livelihood packages, agricultural chemicals, and small scale agri-packages.
But Ombudsman field validation showed that no deliveries were made to the supposed beneficiaries.
Mayors and municipal agriculturists also denied receiving any items funded by Enrile’s PDAF, the Ombudsman added.
In its decision, Morales said “based on testimonial and documentary evidence presented, the widespread misuse of the PDAF allotted to a legislator was coursed through a complex scheme basically involving projects supposed to have been funded by said PDAF which turned out to be inexistent or ‘ghost projects.’”
“In most instances, the disbursement vouchers (DV) were accomplished, signed and approved on the same day. Certainly, the required careful examination of the transaction’s supporting documents could not have taken place if the DV was processed and approved in one day,” Morales added.
Enrile is accused of receiving P172.8 million in kickbacks from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles through his alleged agent Reyes.
He is out on bail from hospital detention after the Supreme Court considered his petition, citing his advanced age and political stature.
His trial is underway after his motion to quash the plunder information was denied.
While Enrile is out on bail, Reyes remains detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig pending her plunder trial.
Enrile’s colleagues former senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada are also detained pending their plunder trial. JE/rga