MANILA (4th UPDATE) - Lawyer Jessica 'Gigi' Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, returned to the Philippines on Saturday 7 months after leaving the Philippines amid the multibillion-peso pork barrel scandal.
According to airline and immigration sources, Reyes arrived on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 105 from San Francisco International Airport.
She was secured upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International (NAIA) Terminal 2 by two security personnel in civilian attire and was whisked out of the terminal on a private vehicle.
Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Nick Ferrer said Reyes arrived at around 4 a.m. He said Reyes is the subject of an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO).
Reyes has been accused by whistleblowers as the alleged bagman of Enrile for kickbacks from the pork barrel scam involving businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Last April 1, the Ombudsman found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against Senators Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada Jr., Ramon “Bong” Revilla and several others, including Reyes, in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Reyes has filed a motion for reconsideration on the Ombudsman's finding of probable cause.
In approving the filing of criminal cases, the Ombudsman said the respondents "conspired… causing undue injury to the government."
The Ombudsman said the amounts “amassed or misappropriated” are: Enrile with P345 million, Revilla with P517 million, and Estrada with P278 million.
In the case of Enrile, 15 counts of graft cases will be filed against the senator, Reyes, Ruby Tuason, Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim, and John Raymond de Asis.
Tuason, a socialite and former aide of then-President Joseph Estrada, had also implicated Reyes in a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigating the scam.
Enrile has said he did not authorize Reyes to discuss pork barrel transactions with either Napoles or Tuason on his behalf.
He has also denied receiving pork barrel kickbacks from Tuason.
Enrile has likewise said he is confident Reyes will not implicate him in the alleged anomaly because his former chief of staff never received kickbacks from pork barrel transactions.
Meanwhile, asked if the Palace has an official statement on the return of Reyes, Sec. Edwin Lacierda said in a text message: "No we don't, but the return of Ms. Gigi Reyes will afford her the opportunity for the full exercise of her constitutional right to due process."
A source close to Reyes, on the other hand, said, "Wala pang balak lumantad si Reyes dahil prayoridad nila ngayon ang 'family time'."
-- with a report from Raoul Esperas