De Lima lukewarm to Gigi Reyes turning state witness

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2014 05:50 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2014 09:40 AM

MANILA - Atty. Jessica 'Gigi' Reyes can spill everything she knows about the "pork barrel scam," but it will not guarantee that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the public complainant in the plunder and other graft cases in connection with the scam, will take her in as state witness, according to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.

De Lima, who has administrative supervision over the bureau, said Reyes' "tell-all," if any, would only focus on the involvement of the latter's principal, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, anyway.

Reyes, who arrived in the country last Saturday, seems to be not keen on turning state witness, the justice chief observed.

"Yung mga 'tell-all' na yan, well, of course, bonus yan if she does so. But independent yan dun sa usapin kung pwede ba siyang maging state witness, kung katanggap-tanggap ba siya as state witness. We were not informed about her intention to return, for her arrival; tinext na lang ako ng [Bureau of Immigration] noong dumating na... she has not accessed or contacted the [Dept. of Justice] and NBI for anything.

"It's pointless to be discussing the possibility of her being a state witness if the subject herself, that is Atty Gigi Reyes, is not indicating any such intention to apply as state witness because, I think, kung may intention siyang maging state witness dapat may prior advise sa amin bago siya bumalik, just like kay Ruby Tuason... I don't think there is such an intention at this point," de Lima said.

The Justice chief maintained that even minus Reyes' testimony, the evidence against Enrile is "strong."

De Lima is more interested in what alleged scam brains Janet Lim Napoles has to stay, than in what Reyes knows.

"Doon, mas interesado ako, si Mrs Napoles ang magsabi na magtetell all na siya. Mas interesado ako doon kaysa kung sino pa man... kasi kung si Atty Gigi Reyes ang magtetell all, siyempre sakop lang niyan ay tungkol kay JPE (Sen Enrile), pero si Mrs Napoles lahat lahat na siguro ang sakop ng kanyang 'tell-all' narrative," de Lima said.

REYES A PRINCIPAL RESPONDENT IN ‘PORK’ CASE

The Justice chief will take the necessary steps in case Reyes decides to fly out of the country again.

While Reyes and the other respondents are subject of an immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (LBO), the order does not bar them from going abroad.

In the case of businessman Cedric Lee and his alleged cohorts in the mauling and alleged detention of actor/TV host Vhong Navarro, the Justice chief had said they will be arrested for obstruction of justice should they insist on leaving the country without clearance from the DOJ National Prosecution Service (NPS) or the trial court.

"We will evaluate (Reyes' case)... given the circumstances that this is plunder, and, therefore, non-bailable... so at this point, tama pa ba na payagan natin na umalis yung mga nasasangkot, lalo na yung principal respondents, and I would say that Atty Gigi Reyes is one of the principal respondents because she was acting for and in behalf of Sen JPE na she was the one handling his [Priority Devt Assistance Fund], the various PDAF funds or projects for Sen JPE including the siphoning of these public funds," De Lima said.

"Gigi Reyes at the time of these subject transactions was also a public official, being the chief of staff of Sen. JPE. Hindi siya katulad ni Mrs Tuason na private citizen," she added.

Enrile was charged for allegedly pocketing P172.83 million worth of kickbacks and commisions from Napoles in exchange for allocating portions of his PDAF to Napoles' NGOs.

In its complaint, which was later affirmed by the Office of the Ombudsman, the NBI claimed that most of Enrile's PDAF transactions with Napoles were coursed through Reyes.