• Miriam: Gigi can be a state witness

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    Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, is qualified to be a state witness because she does not appear to be the most guilty in the controversy involving the alleged misuse of the senator’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF), Senator Miriam Santiago said on Thursday.

    Santiago said that the attempt of the camp of Enrile to pin the blame on Reyes will not spare the latter from criminal liability because it appears that the two conspired.
    According to Santiago, Reyes should turn state witness and tell all against her former boss.

    A lawyer of Enrile earlier claimed that Reyes acted alone and signed documents concerning the release of PDAF to the bogus non-governmental organization run by Janet Napoles.

    But Santiago said that Reyes is eligible to become a state witness because aside from being the less guilty party, there is absolute necessity for her testimony because no other direct evidence will be available for the prosecution to prove plunder against her former boss.

    The feisty senator added that there is no evidence that Reyes was convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.

    She noted that efforts of Enrile to transfer blame to his former chief of staff will not free him from criminal liability because he and his employee conspired.

    Santiago explained that under the Penal Code, “a conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony, and decide to commit it.”

    “Assuming for the sake of argument that giving pork barrel funds to the phony Napoles NGOs was the criminal design of his chief of staff, under our laws, he merged his will into the common felonious intent. The senator can no longer repudiate the conspiracy, after it had already materialized,” she said.

    In order to spare himself from criminal liability, Enrile should present evidence that he tried to prevent the commission of the other PDAF releases, or that he tried to abandon or dissociate himself from Reyes during the initial release of funds.

    “The mere fact that the crime of plunder took place over a period consisting of many years by itself shows what the law calls ‘implied conspiracy.’ Hence, it is not necessary that both the senator and the COS commit each and every act constitutive of plunder,” she pointed out.

    Jefferson Antiporda

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