Corruption in the Philippines

Why was Gigi Reyes in jail? She’s implicated in one of PH’s biggest corruption cases

Rappler.com
Why was Gigi Reyes in jail? She’s implicated in one of PH’s biggest corruption cases

GIGI REYES (full name Jessica Lucila), former chief of staff of now-Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, arrives at the Sandiganbayan for the start of the forme senator's trial over the pork barrel scam in this file photo from January 11, 2019.

Darren Langit/Rappler

Reyes, the former chief of staff of Juan Ponce Enrile, is accused of funneling his pork barrel funds – worth over P172 million – into bogus projects of non-governmental organizations

MANILA, Philippines – Lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, who has been released from detention on Thursday, January 19, after nine years in jail, is implicated in one of the most high-profile and biggest corruption cases the Philippines has seen.

This is based on the records of the country’s anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, which has received 10,094 cases of malversation and 7,968 cases of graft against public officials from 1979 to 2016.

Reyes, who served as chief of staff of now-Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile when he was Senate president, was accused of plunder, for supposedly funneling Enrile’s Priority Development Assistance Fund into bogus projects of non-governmental organizations.

The siphoned pork barrel funds allegedly amounted to P172.8 million.

Also tagged in the pork barrel scam – which sparked national outcry in 2013 – were Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Bong Revilla, who were accused of receiving P183.8 million and P224.5 million in kickbacks, respectively. Estrada is out on bail, while Revilla has been cleared in all criminal cases.

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Reyes walked free on Thursday after the Supreme Court granted her the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, a remedy which it said could be extended to people whose right to speedy trial had been infringed.

Enrile’s wife Cristina Castañer Enrile claimed that Gigi Reyes was Enrile’s girlfriend.

In February 2017, then-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed from government service Reyes and 11 others involved in the pork barrel scam.

The Ombudsman said they were found guilty of the administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and dishonesty. – Rappler.com

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