MANILA, Philippines - The admission of Cristina Castañer-Enrile that her husband, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, had an affair with his former chief of staff could help in the ongoing investigation into the pork barrel scam, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.
De Lima said Cristina’s revelation strengthens the allegation of whistle-blowers and state witnesses that Enrile’s resigned chief of staff, Jessica Lucilla “Gigi” Reyes, was dealing with suspected pork barrel operator Janet Lim-Napoles on behalf of the senator.
“It proves the relationship of Gigi Reyes to Senator Enrile – that she represents herself to be really acting for and in behalf of the senator,” De Lima said.
Enrile, for his part, yesterday dodged the revelations of his wife on his affairs.
“Those are suspicions of a wife,” Enrile said at least twice when asked about Cristina’s revelation.
Enrile said he did not know that his wife gave an interview to television host Winnie Monsod on “Bawal ang Pasaway” aired over GMA-7 last Monday.
Enrile said he does not want to talk about family matters.
A staff member of the senator said Enrile does not want to answer questions regarding the nationwide admission of Cristina that she knew her husband’s affairs throughout their 57 years of marriage.
Enrile remained mum on the issue as he requested members of the media not to dwell on personal matters.
Last month, Enrile became defensive when asked about the statements of Ruby Tuason, former appointments secretary of former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, that she dealt with Reyes regarding commissions in exchange for pork barrel projects.
Tuason told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in its last hearing that Enrile would sometimes join her and Reyes when they met to discuss the commissions over coffee.
“I don’t live with her, she does not live with me,” Enrile said then in reaction to Tuason’s claims that Reyes interceded on Enrile’s behalf, pertaining to alleged commissions coming from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
De Lima cited the testimonies of Tuason and Technology Resources Center director general Dennis Cunanan that Reyes was doing the transactions with Napoles.
“Even if there was no one who directly pointed to JPE (Enrile), the whole world knows who Gigi Reyes is,” De Lima said.
Cristina admitted that her husband’s affair with Reyes prompted her to seek a divorce in the United States.
Enrile, however, rejected the divorce and reportedly told Christina, “Over my dead body will I give you a divorce.”
Cristina added her husband’s affair with Reyes was the longest of the 38 relationships he had with other women.
She said she had met Reyes only once and “it wasn’t nice. I gave it to her.”
Enrile had many times belied having an intimate relationship with Reyes.
It was Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who dragged her into the fight over the uneven sharing of Christmas bonuses in 2012. Enrile was still Senate president then.
Cayetano insinuated during plenary session in the last 15th Congress at how Enrile’s former chief of staff would be present during senators’ caucuses and how she would throw her weight around in matters relating to the Senate.
The issue prompted Reyes to resign.
In the early part of 2013, Enrile resigned as Senate president. – With Christina Mendez