Enrile’s ex-chief of staff should remain in jail, Sandiganbayan insists

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2018 12:24 PM

MANILA - A Sandiganbayan justice flip-flopped on the bail petition of Gigi Reyes, the former chief of staff and co-accused of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, but his vote was not enough to cause the release of Reyes from jail.

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez wrote in his ponencia on June 28, 2018 that there was “strong evidence” against Reyes in the PDAF scam partly because of the testimony of witness Ruby Tuason.

He had noted the statement of Tuason that she was “in charge of delivering the share of Senator Enrile to Atty. Gigi Reyes” in reference to kickbacks from the PDAF scam. 

But in the resolution of the special division dated December 7, 2018, Fernandez dissented from the majority opinion of four of his colleagues that the motion for reconsideration of Reyes be denied.

In his dissenting opinion, he now says the testimony of Tuason “is not enough” as she “could neither recall any of the amounts she allegedly delivered to accused Reyes nor the transactions for which she delivered the same, even considering that these events occurred several years ago.”

In her motion for reconsideration, Reyes argued that the first resolution was “defective in form and substance” because it did not contain a “complete summary of the evidence against her.”

The majority members of the Special 3rd Division however said the motion for reconsideration is denied as “a simple perusal” of the resolution will reveal that there was a complete summary of the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution such as the testimony of PDAF scam whistleblower Benhuy Luy who said that P50 million was sent to the house of Reyes in La Vista, Quezon City in 2010.

The majority also noted that Tuason said she made deliveries of kickbacks to Reyes from 2006 to 2009 although she admitted that she had no detailed recollection of the amount of money and that she only relied on the records of Luy.

“In view of the foregoing, this court finds the evidence against accused-movant Reyes to be strong,” the court said in the resolution penned by Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane Fernandez, Oscar Herrera and Maryann Corpus-Mañalac.