MANILA -- (UPDATED) Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago believes Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, returned to the Philippines to become a state witness.
Santiago said Reyes, a lawyer, knows full well that she will be detained once the Office of the Ombudsman files the graft and plunder raps against those allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Santiago said: “What’s the reason why you’re coming back after eight months when you know that you will automatically be under preventive detention? You could have thought of applying as a state witness.”
Santiago said Reyes can “absolutely” become a state witness. “What’s important is that the person is not the most guilty… The most guilty, naturally, are the senators,” she explained.
Reyes arrived Saturday onboard a Philippine Airlines flight from the San Francisco International Airport. Upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, she was escorted by two security personnel in civilian attire.
Santiago also said socialite Ruby Tuason could have accomplished a special mission in the US besides selling her properties to pay the P40 million she received as kickbacks from the pork scam.
Tuason earlier claimed she personally delivered Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s kickbacks to his office in the Senate. She said she also delivered money to Reyes and claimed Enrile was around during those several meetings.
“[Tuason] could have swayed Reyes to turn state witness,” Santiago said.
Meanwhile, asked if there is a possibility that Reyes may turn state witness, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said: “It’s up to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Department of Justice to study that, to determine if it is warranted.”
On Saturday, Coloma said Malacanang expects Reyes to shed light on her knowledge of the pork scam.
“Their willingness to shed light on the ongoing legal proceedings is vital to our people’s quest for justice,” Coloma said.
Santiago said she will write a letter to the Senate requesting for a special session that will hear out Reyes’ story.
Regular sessions will commence again in May, but Santiago said she can always ask for a special session as long as there is a quorum.
“We just don’t know if a person will go missing or die because of this virus going around. There are a lot of reasons. It is best that there’s already a statement or affidavit,” she said.