Malacanang denies having hand on Gigi Reyes' return to country

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Monday, April 21, 2014

MALACANANG on Monday denied that it has a hand in the decision of Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, former chief-of-staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, to return to the country.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the remarks following the statement of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago alleging that the Palace could have facilitated Reyes' return after fleeing last year.

Reyes, who went back last Saturday, stayed in the United States for about eight months following the disclosure on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.

She, along with Enrile and Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, among others, has been facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman due to alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers.

The Office of the Ombudsman recently ordered the filing of plunder charges against them before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

"Natunghayan ko na ang pahayag ni Secretary (Leila) de Lima, ngunit hindi ko pa siya mismo nakakausap, at ayon sa kanyang naipahayag ay walang pag-anyaya o pakikipag-usap na ginawa ang Kagawaran ng Katarungan kay Atty. Gigi Reyes," Coloma said in a press briefing.

He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will continue to look for evidence against those involved in the pork barrel scam, but the government won't pressure Reyes to testify against the other accused.

"Hihintayin natin na umiral ang mga [kaukulang] proseso ng batas hinggil diyan. Wala tayong proyekto na pasalitain siya (Reyes) o anyayahan siyang gumawa ng anumang bagay na hindi naman nanggagaling sa kanyang sariling inisyatiba," Coloma said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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