Sandiganbayan junks Gigi Reyes bail petition

Rappler.com
The anti-graft court says there is strong evidence against plunder defendant Gigi Reyes, the former chief of staff of ex-senator Juan Ponce Enrile

NO BAIL. In this file photo, Gigi Reyes surrenders to the Sandiganbayan. File photo by Buena Bernal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan denied the bail petition of Gigi Reyes, the former chief of staff of ex-senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is among those facing plunder charges over the pork barrel scam.

In a resolution signed last Thursday, June 28, the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division said there is strong evidence that Reyes was involved in the scam, which allegedly led to P172.8 million in kickbacks for Enrile.

Reyes is accused of conspiring with Enrile, alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, and Napoles’ employees Ronald John Lim and Raymund de Asis to channel the then-senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into bogus non-governmental organizations. (READ: Gigi Reyes: ‘Nothing worse than betrayal’ by Enrile)

Reyes had claimed in her bail petition that the testimonies of whistleblowers Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Benhur Luy, and Ruby Tuason failed to prove that she was part of the scam.

But the anti-graft court, in its resolution, said the whistleblowers’ testimonies “remain trustworthy.”

“This court… took exceptional note of her (Tuason’s) confirmations that she made deliveries of kickbacks to accused-movant Reyes in the years 2006 to 2009 and that she made these deliveries in coffee shops and restaurants and sometimes in the house of accused-movant Reyes,” the Sandiganbayan said.

Reyes had also argued that she is not a flight risk.

To that, the anti-graft court said: “Since plunder is a capital offense, the grant of bail is therefore discretionary and not a matter of right. In view of the foregoing, this court finds the evidence against accused-movant Reyes to be strong.”

Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez penned the resolution, with concurrences from Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez. – Rappler.com