MANILA, Philippines – Veteran journalist John Nery sat down with ex-Supreme Court (SC) spokesperson Theodore Te, human rights lawyer Kristina Conti, and multimedia reporter Jairo Bolledo to discuss last January 25 the recent SC resolution granting Gigi Reyes, former chief of staff of ex-senator Juan Ponce Enrile, temporary release from detainment due to the violation of her right to a speedy trial.
The SC granted Reyes’ petition for the writ of habeas corpus, saying her detainment was “oppressive thus infringing upon her right to liberty.”
Te pointed out that although the unsigned resolutions normally do not hold any jurisprudence, because of the categorical language and guidelines provided on how similar cases will be treated in the future, such cases may make the same claim.
“This case could apply even to others similarly situated to Mrs. Reyes,” Te said. “Of course, the way to do that is for others to file…invoking this ruling, and hoping that the Supreme Court will grant their petition anchored on this ruling.”
Only then can it be affirmed as jurisprudence.
Expanding the habeas corpus
Could this apply to then-senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for six years for drug charges?
Conti said that in cases such as Ilagan v Enrile, where the guidelines in the decision referred only to that specific case, this resolution on Gigi Reyes did not.
Te earlier tweeted that although the SC did not explicitly amend the rule on habeas corpus in the Reyes resolution, it could be “reasonably understood that the rule has been modified,” Te said.
Department of Justice Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla earlier said that this may also apply to De Lima’s case.
Both Conti and Te said that the resolution is trying to “chip” away at the current limitations set by the writ of habeas corpus – it can only be invoked during the pre-charge and post-conviction stages of a trial.
“A study of the decisions of the Supreme Court recently tells us that in a way, the Supreme Court is trying to break out of some shortcomings of the law,” Conti said.
“In this case, you’re allowing a detained person to be temporarily released without security, but on the condition that she has to show up in court.”
Te said that due to the “limitations” set by the court through its decisions, lawyers hardly ever avail of the writ of habeas corpus.
“I think this decision and previous decisions on habeas corpus, for example, have been trying to chip away at some of the limitations on habeas corpus,” Te said.
“This might represent a shift, and I think the court [is] signaling that ‘yeah, we are opening it up a little bit, try your luck.'”
Future of the Reyes case
In terms of Reyes’ trial moving forward, Bolledo said that we have to wait and see when the next scheduled hearing will be. She will also be allowed to travel, subject to permission.
Bolledo also said that the SC resolution would help bring back public interest in the pork barrel case, where trials are still ongoing.
“On the other hand, itong case ni Gigi Reyes would shed light din and would reintroduce the ongoing trial din ng mga iba pang accused dito sa plunder case,” he said. (…this case of Gigi Reyes would shed light too and would also reintroduce the ongoing trial of the others who are accused in the plunder case.)
“Kasi parang nakalimutan na ng mga tao na (I think people are forgetting that) in fact, our chief presidential legal counsel [Enrile] is still facing trials for alleged plunder.”
Enrile was released from detention on humanitarian bail, thanks to lawyer Estelito Mendoza, who is also handling Reyes’ case. Mendoza also represented President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his presidential candidacy case in 2022. – Rappler.com
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.