Like Johnny, Gigi wants justice off her ‘pork’ case
Like her boss, former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Lucila Reyes asked Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang to inhibit herself from trying her pork barrel cases.
Reyes accused Tang of committing grave abuse of discretion and cherry-picking jurisprudence to justify the January denial of her motion to quash the plunder charge.
Reyes also accused Tang of depriving her of due process when she made conclusions on her culpability in resolving the bail plea of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Enrile, who also sought Tang’s recusal on May 26, assailed Tang’s supposedly undue haste and her possible partiality because of her appointment by President Benigno Aquino III.
Under the internal rules of the Sandiganbayan, the chair’s inhibition would lead to the reraffling of the plunder case to another division.
In her motion, Reyes argued that the court’s Third Division denied her quashal motion because the Supreme Court in August 2015 ruled that the case was presupposed to be valid when Enrile filed a motion for a bill of particulars.
Yet, the Tang-led division “in the same breath” ruled Reyes could not question the prosecution’s bill of particulars because Reyes was not a party to the Supreme Court case.
Reyes said Tang’s alleged inconsistency in applying the high court’s 2015 ruling “cannot but give rise to the understandable perception to bias that erodes confidence in the impartiality of the Honorable Chairperson [Tang].”
“With due respect, the Honorable Chairperson [Tang] cannot unilaterally choose and apply handpicked portions of the Supreme Court decision in the Enrile case to accused Reyes whenever convenient and supportive of her position, and jettison and cast aside other equally important portions of the same decision when they are contrary to her stance,” the motion read.
Reyes said the Tang-led court also issued findings against her when it resolved in March 2016 the bail petition of Napoles.
She said the court deprived her of due process and effectively “prejudged and predetermined the guilt of accused Reyes,” rendering her “severely handicapped” in the plunder case.
In that March 2016 ruling, the court said the prosecution was able to establish that “Senator Enrile through Atty. Reyes, and Atty. Reyes herself, repeatedly received kickbacks/
commissions/rebates” to justify the denial of Napoles’ bail plea.