Gigi Reyes urges SC to halt plunder, graft cases

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 10 2014 12:59 PM | Updated as of Jun 11 2014 04:40 AM

MANILA - Atty. Lucila "Gigi" Reyes, the former chief of staff of Sen Juan Ponce Enrile and a co-accused in the plunder and graft cases before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the "pork barrel" scam, urged the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to halt the Ombudsman in proceeding with the prosecution of the case.

In an 82-page petition, Reyes sought the nullification of the Ombudsman ruling that found probable cause to indict her and the recent order by the anti-graft office that junked her motion for reconsideration.

Reyes claimed that she was not furnished a copy of the sworn statements of immune witness Ruby Tuason which served as principal basis in the order to indict her.

Tuason had claimed that Reyes was instrumental in the siphoning of millions of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of her boss, Sen Enrile, and personally received kickbacks from Tuason.

Reyes claimed her right to due process was violated.

"The Office of the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing its assailed resolutions finding and affirming the existence of probable cause against the petitioner (Reyes) for the crimes of plunder and violation of RA 3019 (Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices act) on the principal basis of alleged sworn statements of Ruby Tuason whose statements were never furnished the petitioner during the preliminary investigation of the cases a quo despite repeated requests therefor, thus depriving the petitioner of the opportunity to rebut and disprove the statements made against her in accordance with her right to due process," the petition read.

Reyes claimed she "never had a chance during the preliminary investigation to prove that no probable cause exists against her."

Reyes also questioned the immunity granted to Tuason, primary "pork barrel" scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, and the other witnesses by the Ombudsman, claiming it also violates her right to equal protection of law, and labeled this "selective or discriminatory prosecution."

Meaning, Tuason, Luy, and the other witnesses should not be spared, according to Reyes.

"They (Tuason, Luy, other witnesses) appear to be among the most guilty respondents," the petition read.

Reyes urged the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) or injunctive writ to stop the Ombudsman from prosecuting the cases before the Sandiganbayan, and, instead, continue with the preliminary investigation.

She urged the high court to order the anti-graft office to furnish her copies of Tuason's sworn statements and other pertinent documents so she may "rebut and disprove" the allegations.

Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, also accused for plunder and graft in connection with the scam, have a similar petition with the high court; the cases remain pending with no TRO or injunctive writ issued in their favor.