SC orders Sandiganbayan to comment on Gigi Reyes' plea

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Friday, August 1, 2014

THE Supreme Court (SC) directed the Sandiganbayan third division to comment on the petition of lawyer Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes seeking to end her detention and trial over the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and third division chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiros have 10 days to comment on Reyes' petition, SC clerk of court Enriqueta Vidal said in a two-page resolution.

The SC also consolidated her petition with the cases of other personalities charged for the scam such as Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada.

Reyes was a long-time chief of staff of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who was accused of plunder and graft for pocketing P172 million from his pork barrel allocation in previous years.

She allegedly acted on behalf of the senator in the transactions with co-accused Janet Napoles, the businesswoman behind fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that implemented Enrile's alleged ghost projects under the PDAF.

In her petition, 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 Office of the Ombudsman's finding of probable cause.

She asked the SC to nullify the arrest warrants, stop her trial and order the Ombudsman to re-investigate the charges, claiming she was not provided copies of all sworn statements and other evidence presented by whistleblower Ruby Tuason.

Reyes, who is currently detained with Napoles at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, previously sought the same relief in a supplemental petition but it was denied last month because she questioned the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan, which was not mentioned in her original pleading filed in June. (Sunnex)

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