Plunder case trial of Gigi Reyes set to resume June 21
The Sandiganbayan has ordered the resumption of the trial of detained lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, the chief of staff of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, for plunder over the alleged pork barrel scam.
In its order, the Third Division of the anti-graft court set the resumption of Reyes’s plunder trial on the following dates, all starting 8:30 a.m. – June 21, 22, 28, 29; Aug. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31; Sept. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28; Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26; Nov. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, and 29.
The court had earlier denied Reyes’s motion to quash her plunder information.
Her trial with accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, which started in 2016, had been suspended following a mix-up in the marking of evidence.
Meanwhile, the plunder case of Enrile will only about to start, as the court set more preliminary conference dates throughout July all at 9 a.m. The proceedings of Enrile’s case were suspended after he took to the Supreme Court and won a bill of particulars from the Office of the Ombudsman to help him prepare his defense.
Enrile’s pre-trial is tentatively set on Aug. 15 at 1:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Reyes has filed a motion for bail ad cautelam, citing no strong evidence against her by the prosecution on her alleged involvement in the scheme of pilfering kickbacks from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
Reyes cited her constitutional right to be granted bail if there is no strong evidence against her.
“In the instant case, accused Reyes has consistently maintained that she is entitled to bail because no evidence of her guilt for the crime of plunder, as charged by the prosecution, exists,” Reyes said in her motion.
“There being thus no evidence, let alone strong evidence that accused Reyes is guilty of the crime charged, accused Reyes is entitled to bail as a matter of right,” she added.
Reyes said she filed a motion for bail even as her trial for plunder is underway, without waiving her right to file other remedies, such as an appropriate petition before the Supreme Court to question the Sandiganbayan’s denial of her motion to quash the plunder information.
“Wherefore, accused Jessica Lucila Reyes, respectfully prays ad cautelam that this Honorable Court admit her to bail in such amount as the Honorable Court may fix, and that an order for her temporary release from detention be issued,” the motion read.
While Enrile was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail, Reyes, who was accused of serving as Enrile’s agent, remains detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
Reyes was rumored to have had an affair with the elderly Enrile during their Senate days.
Enrile was accused of receiving P172.8 million in kickbacks from his alleged ghost pork barrel projects.
In its resolution deying the bail motion of Janet Lim-Napoles, the accused pork barrel scam mastermind, the Third Division said there was “compelling evidence” Reyes received the kickbacks for Enrile from Napoles.
The court gave credence to the testimony of socialite Ruby Tuason, another alleged agent of Enrile and co-accused Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, that she delivered kickbacks from Napoles. Tuason had testified that she delivered Enrile’s share of the commissions to Reyes.
“Although there is no direct evidence that Senator Enrile received the kickbacks/commissions/rebates repeatedly given by accused Napoles to his middlepersons, there is more than compelling evidence, consisting of the testimony of Ruby Tuason, that Atty. Reyes received Senator Enrile’s share,” the court said.
“The information in this case alleges that Senator Enrile and Atty. Reyes conspired with each other ‘and with Janet Lim-Napoles’ in amassing, accumulating and acquiring ill-gotten wealth,” it added. /atm
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