Gigi Reyes asks SC to release her from detention

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LAWYER Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes has turned to the Supreme Court (SC) to quash the arrest warrants issued by the Sandiganbayan against her in relation to the pork barrel scam.

Reyes, former top aide of co-accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, assailed the Sandiganbayan third division for allegedly rushing the issuance of arrest warrant for plunder on July 4 and 15 counts of graft on July 7, saying the three justices did not carefully review the cases filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

"Had the Sandiganbayan conducted a judicious evaluation of evidence on record, it would have determined that there is no probable cause against petitioner (Reyes) for the crimes of plunder and violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 charged against her. Thus, the information filed against petitioner should have been dismissed and thrown out by the Sandiganbayan," the petition stated.

Under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a judge can either dismiss the case if evidence on record would show lack of probable cause or order the prosecutor, in this case the Ombudsman, to present additional evidence in case of doubt.

But Reyes noted that the Sandiganbayan merely adopted the Ombudsman's findings without explanation.

She asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction to stop the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan and direct her release from detention.

Reyes surrendered to the anti-graft court on July 4 and was ordered to be detained at the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

A panic attack prevented her from spending a single night in jail though as her lawyer Anacleto Diaz said his client could not stand the thought of staying with suspected communist rebels, who allegedly have an axe to grind against Enrile.

Reyes' former boss was the late President Ferdinand Marcos' main man against insurgents like the New People's Army (NPA) during Martial Law (1972-1986).

She was rushed to the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital (TPDH) on July 10 because of the panic attack. Reyes was then transferred to the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City the following day due to chest pain and difficulty of breathing.

The Sandiganbayan summoned Monday doctors and officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to explain the transfer of Reyes to the PHC last Friday even without any court order.

Third division clerk of court and spokesperson Dennis Pulma said the court issued subpoenas to Rodencio Sta. Lucia and Anthony Lontoc, both doctors of TPDH; the director of PHC; and the jail warden of BJMP female dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Pulma said the court will decide based on the testimonies of BJMP official and doctors on whether or not they will allow the continued confinement of Reyes at the PHC.

Earlier, a BJMP official had said the agency deemed the call an emergency case, as attested by doctors at the TPDH who were worried by Reyes' continuing chest pains and difficulty in breathing.

Attending physicians at TPDH claimed that she has an anxiety disorder, but suspects that coronary problems might be one of the main factors.

Inspector Aris Villaester, BJMP spokesperson, a medical bulletin on Reyes' health condition might be out by Wednesday or Thursday.

Reyes was accused of facilitating the diversion of Enrile's multi-million peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Janet Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that are allegedly involved in ghost projects.

According to socialite Ruby Tuason, she personally delivered kickbacks for Enrile and Reyes in her meetings with the lawyer in high-end restaurants.

Reyes had denied wrongdoing as she asked the SC last month to nullify the Ombudsman's decision to indict her in court, arguing lack of due process when she was not given copies, "despite repeated requests," of Tuason's statements during the preliminary investigation.

Reyes also insisted that her signatures in the documents linking her to the anomaly are "forged, false and fictitious." (Sunnex)

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