Gigi Reyes won’t share Enrile luck as her bail bid is rejected
Unlike her former boss and mentor, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes will stay in jail.
The antigraft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has denied Reyes’ motion for bail in a unanimous 16-page resolution dated June 28.
It said the testimonies of pork barrel scam whistleblowers “remain trustworthy,” and evidence of Reyes’ guilt was strong enough to keep her detained pending trial for a P172.8-million plunder case which Enrile faces, too.
Even if whistleblowers Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula never met Reyes in person, the court said this had “no significant impact on the reliability of their respective testimonies.”
The court still gave weight to their “detailed” explanation of the scheme to divert Enrile’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations, or pork, to ghost projects of bogus foundations allegedly controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
The court added that the three Napoles employees’ testimony “substantively corroborated” the Commission on Audit (COA) findings of irregularities in the use of legislators’ PDAF.
Luy testified that Ruby Tuason, another prosecution witness, acted as Enrile’s middleman. Tuason, meanwhile, claimed to have delivered the kickbacks from the ghost projects to Reyes from 2006 to 2009.
The court continued to give credence to the testimony of Tuason, even if she could not recall the exact amount she supposedly received as well as the specific projects for which she delivered the commissions.
“This court cannot fault her for her inability to clearly remember specific details of events that transpired over 10 years ago,” the resolution read.
For the court, Reyes’ signing of the endorsement letters for the spurious livelihood projects “triggered the start of the scheme.”
This was despite the COA’s lack of findings that Reyes signed other project documents, like project proposals, memorandums of agreement, accomplishment reports, inspection reports and disbursement reports, afterward.
The Sandiganbayan applied to Reyes’ case its denial of Napoles’ bail motion, which the Supreme Court upheld in a
Nov. 7, 2017, decision.
“This court finds no sound reason not to adopt the same,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The high court had said in Napoles’ case that the whistleblowers’ testimonies were “consistent, clear and corroborative of each other.”
Still, the Sandiganbayan clarified that the denial of Reyes’ bail “does not in any manner determine the ultimate outcome of these cases.”
Enrile’s plunder case has yet to go to trial unlike the cases of fellow former opposition Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez and concurred in by Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez.
This was the second time Reyes failed in her bid to walk out of detention. Reyes filed her May 29, 2017, motion for bail after the court, on Jan. 3, 2017, denied her motion to quash the plunder charge for alleged defects.
Reyes and Napoles are currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
The 94-year-old Enrile was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail through a controversial August 2015 ruling that cited “special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.”
Defendants accused of plunder are normally not allowed to post bail unless evidence of guilt is not strong.
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