Court begins hearing Gigi’s plea for bail
The Sandiganbayan on Thursday began hearing the motion of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, to be allowed to post bail on her plunder charge in connection with the alleged misuse of Enrile’s pork barrel.
During the Third Division’s hearing, Reyes’ lawyer Anacleto Diaz zeroed in on the lack of her signature in the agreements that diverted Enrile’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) allegedly controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
The first prosecution witness, Napoles employee-turned-whistleblower Benhur Luy, replied to Diaz’s questioning: “None, sir, as far as I can remember.”
When Diaz later asked if he had “seen any documents signed by the accused [Reyes],” Luy answered: “As far as my recollection, none, sir.”
Instead, the memoranda of agreement were signed by Enrile’s deputy chief of staff Jose Antonio Evangelista.
As to the issue of the senator receiving “rebates” in exchange for diverting his PDAF to the NGOs, Diaz pointed to the lack of an agreement proving he authorized his alleged bagmen to collect the kickbacks on his behalf.
Luy had supposedly delivered the kickbacks to middlemen such as socialite Ruby Tuason, her now-deceased husband Butch Tuason, and lawyer Alfredo Villamor.—VINCE F. NONATO
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