SC dismisses Gigi Reyes plea to nullify arrest warrant
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court dismissed the petition of lawyer Jessica Lucila Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, to nullify the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan against her for plunder and 15 counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the pork barrel scam.
“The Court resolved to dismiss the petition for being procedurally defective without prejudice to her availment of the proper remedy,” the high court said Tuesday.
The high court said Reyes did not file a leave of court to file a supplemental petition.
A leave of court is a permission obtained from a court to take some action, without which, such action is not allowable.
The high court added that “the supposed supplemental petition was actually a distinct petition against the orders of the Sandiganbayan and does not supplement her earlier petition.
In her supplemental petition, Reyes asked the high court to stop the Sandiganbayan Third Division from proceeding with the hearing on the case against her.
She said the anti-graft court committed grave abuse of discretion when it “hastily” issued the arrest warrants for plunder on July 4, 2014 and for graft on July 7, 2014 against her.
She said the anti-graft court failed to properly perform its duty of personally evaluating the evidence on record in determining the existence of a probable cause to warrant the issuance of arrest warrants against her.
Instead of evaluating the evidence, she said the Sandiganbayan simply adopted without citing any reason, the findings of the Ombudsman that she should be prosecuted for graft and plunder.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that had the Sandiganbayan conducted a judicious and independent evaluation of the evidence on record, it would have determined that there is no probable cause against petitioner for the crimes of plunder and violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 charged against her.
“Thus, the [information] filed against petitioner should have been dismissed and thrown out by the Sandiganbayan…,” Reyes added.
Reyes’ first petition was about asking the high court to nullify the finding of probable cause by the Office of the Ombudsman to charge her along with her former boss and several others for plunder and graft in connection with the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
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