Court enters not guilty plea for Gigi Reyes

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Friday, July 18, 2014

(UPDATED) THE anti-graft court entered on Friday a not guilty plea for lawyer Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes after the former chief of staff of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile refused to enter any plea on her plunder case.

"Upon the advice of my counsel, I'm not entering any plea,' Reyes said during her arraignment at the Sandiganbayan third division, which handles her and Enrile's plunder and graft cases in connection with the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Third division chairperson Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang ordered the entry of a not guilty plea into the records.

Reyes, Enrile and other co-accused, including businesswoman Janet Napoles, were charged in the P172-million plunder and graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman. Enrile was accused of receiving kickbacks through his PDAF channeled to Napoles' bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).

Hours after the arraignment, Reyes asked the Supreme Court (SC) again to stop her trial and detention.

Reyes previously sought the same relief in a supplemental petition but it was denied on Tuesday because she questioned the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan, which was not mentioned in her original pleading filed last month.

The lawyer hit the Sandiganbayan 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 merely adopted the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause.

Last Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Lontoc, a cardiologist and Reyes' attending physician at Taguig Pateros District Hospital and the Philippine Heart Center, told the third division that the accused is in need of psychiatric assistance to address her mixed anxiety disorder.

The Sandiganbayan third division heard Reyes petition for her transfer to a tertiary hospital and her detention in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame from Camp Bagong Diwa Detention-Female Dormitory in Taguig City where she returned Monday night after she was discharge from the hospital.

Lontoc said Reyes' mixed anxiety disorder could be due to her inability to cope with stressful environment and/or tolerate anxiety.

Reyes was transferred last Wednesday from Sandiganbayan's basement jail to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Moments later, however, Reyes was rushed to Taguig Pateros District Hospital after suffering panic attacks and seizure.

This prompted her lawyers to file motion for Reyes's transfer to the PNP Custodial Center.

Last Friday, she was brought to the Philippine Heart Center due to persistent chest pains without court order. Reyes was moved to the PHC's intensive care unit on Sunday for monitoring and was eventually discharged and returned to the Camp Bagong Diwa before midnight of Monday.

Reyes sought for her transfer to another detention facility, citing the presence of nine suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) in her cell who are critical against his former boss, Enrile.

She said the suspected communist rebels are hostile and antagonistic to Enrile who served as the Defense Minister during the Martial Law years. (Sunnex)

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