Ex-Enrile aide asks SC to stop plunder case

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LAWYER Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to press plunder charges against her in connection with the pork barrel scam.

In a petition, Reyes told the SC to junk the Ombudsman's March 28 resolution that found probable cause against her and the June 4 resolution that dismissed her motion for reconsideration.

The lawyer said she was not given copies, "despite repeated requests," of socialite Ruby Tuason's statements, which became the basis for her indictment, along with Enrile and alleged scam leader Janet Napoles, before the Sandiganbayan.

Tuason claimed she personally delivered kickbacks to Reyes for facilitating the diversion of Enrile's multi-million peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that are allegedly involved in ghost projects.

Reyes also questioned the immunity given to Tuason, main whistleblower Benhur Luy and some of Napoles' former employees, saying they "appear to be among the most guilty respondents."

"The Ombudsman gave Tuason and other whistleblowers undue advantage, preference and benefits prejudicial to petitioner which amount to selective or discriminatory prosecution," she said.

Reyes had denied participation in the scam, noting that the documents supposedly related to the illegal transactions were "forged, false and fictitious."

"The Office of the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in relying upon mere suspicions, surmises and conjectures in concluding that petitioner 'acted in connivance' and 'in concert' with Senator Enrile on the mere basis of her position as chief of staff and alleged authorized representative of the latter," the petition read.

Reyes asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction, the same relief sought by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., who were also charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan.

The SC on Tuesday required the Ombudsman to comment on the petition within 10 days. (Sunnex)

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