Amid ongoing speculation why she has come back, lawmakers say that Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes’ return to the country could boost the P10-billion pork barrel scam case – if only she will talk.
Reyes returned last Saturday after eight months, vowing to face her plunder charges.
She is accused of plunder and several counts of graft along with three senators, their staff, Ruby Tuason and alleged “pork” scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Early this month, the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to charge Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada of receiving kickbacks from “ghost” projects through their pork barrel fund.
Reyes, Enrile’s former chief-of staff, then filed a motion for reconsideration at the OMB through a messenger, denying involvement in the PDAF scam and citing lack of due process.
Now that she is back, Reyes can give her side of the story.
Her return would add alarm because it will strengthen the issue on PDAF abuse, however it depends on what Reyes will say, said Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, chairman of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability (the Senate Blue Ribbon Committees counterpart in the House).
“If she will try to exculpate or protect herself, she has to point to somebody. Then Sen[ator]JPE will be adversely affected,” said Rodriguez.
House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna echoed Rodriguez, saying that it the implication on other suspects will also depend if Reyes can and will speak against them.
“I believe that other suspects are scared if they know that Ms. Reyes has direct testimonial or documentary evidence of corruption against them and that Ms. Reyes will spill the beans on them,” he said.
Tuason, who acted as a “go-between” of Napoles and Enrile’s PDAF, alleged in her counter-affidavit dated February 21, 2014 that it was through Reyes that the transactions were made.
She said that either Reyes or Jose Antonio Evangelista (another staff of Enrile’s) would inform her that a budget from the PDAF was available, after which Benhur Luy or Napoles would list projects with the implementing agencies. The list would be given to Reyes, who in turn would endorse it to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Tuason also said that she had received amounts from Napoles or Luy corresponding to Enrile’s kickbacks “which she personally delivered to Reyes” and which represented 40% of the project.
“There were occasions when Senator Enrile (sic) would join us for a cup of coffee when he would pick her up. For me, his presence was a sign that whatever Atty. Gigi Reyes was doing was with Senator Enrile’s blessing,” Tuason alleged in a statement included in the OMB’s Joint Resolution for the plunder case.
Reyes, in her official statement after she flew out of the country, said that she has every intention of defend and acquit herself against the “baseless” charges, “blatant lies” and “perjured” affidavits of witnesses.
She also said that the “worst blow” and betrayal has been dealt upon her by “no less than the camp of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile” as she alleged that a certain lawyer Enrique dela Cruz had been telling media that her acts on Enrile’s behalf were without blessing.
But only if it were really from her former boss, as she also said in the statement that Enrile maintained that all that she has done were pursuant to his instructions.