THE controversial former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, arrived in the country before dawn on Saturday purportedly to face charges that she was allegedly involved in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
“I’m facing the charges. I’ve always faced it,” Reyes was quoted as saying upon her arrival on board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 105 around 4:15 am Saturday
Reyes, who is a subject of a look-out bulletin order by the Bureau of Immigration, flew in from San Francisco, California on business class and underwent airport formalities like any other airline passenger.
Reyes was among those who were indicted last April 1 for corruption and plunder along with Enrile, Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, supposed scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several others.
The National Bureau of Investigation claimed that Reyes, being Enrile’s chief of staff, signed documents related to the release of the senator’s pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations linked to Napoles.
Enrile, who has repeatedly denied the charges, declined to comment on Reyes unannounced return, but Malacañan Palace said Reyes was accountable for her actions while she was a government employee.
“All government officials and employees named in the recent resolution issued by the Ombudsman in the [pork barrel]-related plunder cases, including Atty. Jessica Lucila Reyes are accountable for their actions and are expected to fully disclose what they know,” Coloma said in a statement.
“Their willingness to shed light on the ongoing legal proceedings is vital to our people’s quest for justice,” Coloma added.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, on the other hand, said Reyes’ return from the US will give her the chance to avail of the “due process” she has been seeking.
“[Reyes’ return] will afford her the opportunity for the full application of her right to due process,” Lacierda said.
Meanwhile, senators urged Reyes to tell the truth in the trial of the corruption and plunder charges against her.
“Our countrymen clamor for the truth and expect its unsullied exposition in pursuit of the nation’s highest interest. Together we should encourage and support those who will champion the truth and those who will favor the public good,” said Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
On the other hand, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, an outspoken critic of Enrile, urged Reyes to turn state witness against her former boss.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that investigated the pork barrel scam, said he was told of Reyes arrival, but he declined to comment.
Last April 7, Reyes asked the Ombudsman to reconsider its decision to file plunder charges against her and claimed her constitutional right to due process was violated because she was not given a copy of the sworn affidavits of witnesses Ruby Tuason and Dennis Cunanan, among others.
Reyes also denied receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission from Enrile’s Priority Development Assistance Fund.
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