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Gigi Reyes asks SC to nullify arrest warrant

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Gigi Reyes asks SC to nullify arrest warrant
Lawyer and indicted plunderer Jessica Lucila 'Gigi' Reyes exhausts all legal options to be out of jail

MANILA, Philippines – Out of options and in peril of being brought back to jail, lawyer and indicted plunderer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes ran to the Supreme Court (SC) to have her arrest warrant nullified.

Reyes through lawyer Anacleto Diaz filed on Monday, July 14, before the SC a supplemental petition to her earlier petition for certiorari assailing her indictment.

Reyes said the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, which ordered her arrest and is hearing her plunder and graft cases, “gravely abused its discretion” when it approved her indictment.

The lawyer said the Sandiganbayan “acted in precipitate haste” in its finding of probable cause against her.

“The Sandiganbayan failed to perform its duty of personally evaluating the evidence on record in determining the existence of probable cause. Instead of painstakingly examining the evidence presented by the parties, particularly those of the complainants a quo, it merely adopted without citing any reason or basis whatsoever, the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman,” Reyes’ supplemental petition read.

The anti-graft court is required to issue a separate finding of probable cause against the accused to disable prosecutors from abusively filing cases against public officers. This is also meant to prevent the clogging of the court docket. 

The former chief of staff of 90-year-old Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Reyes is accused of conspiring to divert P172 miilion of the senators’ Priority Development Assitance Fund (PDAF) to ghost government projects. She faces a plunder case and 15 counts of graft.

Seeking a TRO

In her supplemental petition, Reyes asked for a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction which will effectively stop the criminal proceedings against her.

Reyes said a preliminary injunction may be issued by the High Court if the case is one of “persecution rather than prosecution” or “where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance.”

Reyes, however, simply wanted the SC to order the Sandiganbayan to return the case for preliminary investigation to the Ombudsman.

Her initial petition before the SC cited the violation of her right to due process during the Ombudsman’s preliminary investigation, as she was not furnished copies of the affidavit of state witness Ruby Tuason.

Her lawyer Diaz claimed that Tuason’s testimony formed part of the principal evidence against Reyes and the accused in the PDAF scam. Prosecutors were made to explain the alleged blunder before the Sandiganbayan.

In a previous Sandiganbayan hearing, Justice Samuel Martires said Tuason’s application as state witness would have been denied if her testimony was not important to the case. – Rappler.com

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