Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's former Chief of Staff Atty. Gigi Reyes surrenders at Sandiganbayan. Photo by Robert Mano, ABS-CBN DZMM
MANILA (UPDATED) - Atty. Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, has surrendered to the Sandiganbayan.
Reyes, who was accompanied by her lawyer Anacleto Diaz, turned herself in after the anti-graft court's Third Division ordered her arrest on Friday afternoon.
The Sandiganbayan also ordered the arrests of Enrile, Janet Lim Napoles, Ronald John Lim, and John Raymund de Asis after it found probable cause in the plunder and graft charges filed against him over the pork barrel scam.
Reyes has been tagged as the alleged paramour and "bag lady" of the 90-year-old senator for kickbacks from the anomalous transactions.
By all accounts, Reyes wasn't one to stand behind her powerful boss.
Instead, she was front and center in representing him in meetings, evaluating legislation, and even signing documents and checks on his behalf.
She became so powerful in her own right that she was widely regarded as the so-called "25th senator."
As the pork barrel scam exploded in the public consciousness, her role as Enrile's alter-ego took on a sinister character.
Facing accusations that she accepted kickbacks from the scam on Enrile's behalf, Reyes fled the country for Macau in late August 2013.
A month later, she would respond to remarks from Enrile's camp that seemed to indicate the senator was distancing himself from her role in the scam, by calling such remarks a "betrayal" from the man she said she had served loyally for 25 years.
"The worst blow has just been dealt upon me by no less than the camp of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile --the man I served with full dedication, honesty and loyalty for 25 years... This very tragic development is beyond my comprehension," she said in a September 2013 Facebook post.
In February this year Reyes received another stunning blow -- this time from socialite Ruby Tuason.
Appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Tuason described how she allegedly met Reyes at posh restaurants in Metro Manila to deliver kickbacks meant for Enrile.
But through the resulting firestorm, Reyes maintained her silence.
Even after she slipped quietly back into the country on Black Saturday, April 19, little was heard from her, other than the filing of motions by her lawyers to dismiss the plunder and graft cases against her.
Her camp insists that those cases will ultimately be dismissed.
She has denied any involvement in the scam.
Enrile, for his part, said he never authorized Reyes to discuss pork barrel transactions on his behalf. - with ANC
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