Enrile ex-aide denies bribes, ‘pork’ papers

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
Enrile ex-aide denies bribes, �pork� papers
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile appears on September 21, 2022, before a Senate panel conducting an inquiry on Charter change.
Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer Jessica Lucille “Gigi” Reyes, the former chief of staff of presidential legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, said yesterday she neither received bribes nor signed endorsements for non-government organizations (NGOs) as implementing agencies of the former Senate president’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

During a hearing of Enrile’s plunder case before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, Reyes testified that she never wrote nor signed letters endorsing NGOs linked to pork barrel queen Janet Napoles to receive PDAF.

Reyes was presented on the stand with seven letters of endorsement purportedly written and signed by her.

“Our office is not authorized to nominate or endorse NGOs. It’s for implementing agencies to endorse. Implementing agencies are designated by GAA (General Appropriations Act). I never signed any endorsement letter nominating any NGO or implementing agency,” she said on the witness stand.

Reyes said the letters were never run by her and she only learned about them when the Commission on Audit (COA) released a special audit report in 2013, for which Enrile sent a letter verifying the authenticity of the signatures of his staff, including that of Reyes, in the letters.

Reyes claimed that the confirmatory letter was never coursed through her and that she was able to reconcile the supposed mistake by meeting with Enrile and the former senator’s deputy chief of staff, Jose Antonio Evangelista, after the letters surfaced in the COA report.

“The former Senate president did not even remember when he signed that. So I asked Evangelista, ‘what’s this?’ ” Reyes said.

“I raised the issue verifying my signature. I said, how can you be the one to authenticate the signatures? Even I haven’t seen it. And he (Enrile) was disappointed at Evangelista. And he was apologetic,” she added.

Reyes said Evangelista wrote a letter to COA to set the record straight. She claimed that COA never tried to verify the signatures with her.

Meanwhile, Reyes also denied ever having received bribes from whistle-blower Ruby Tuason, but admitted to meeting with her and Enrile to discuss the sale of an island in Palawan owned by her former boss’ family.

In these, meetings, Reyes claimed that Tuason was acting as an escrow agent.

“We never discussed PDAF then. We discussed the island,” Reyes said.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2014, the case stemmed from Enrile’s alleged receipt, through Reyes, of P172.83 million in commissions or kickbacks from Napoles in exchange for the alleged allocation of his PDAF to Napoles’ bogus NGOs during his term as a senator from 2004 to 2010.

Napoles is currently detained at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City following her conviction for plunder in connection with the misuse of the P517-million PDAF of then-senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who was acquitted.

Enrile was granted bail by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2015 for “humanitarian consideration,” citing his frail health condition and old age.

Reyes was released from the Taguig City Jail female dormitory in January following nearly nine years of detention after the SC granted her petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Enrile, Reyes and Napoles are also facing 15 counts each of graft, still in connection with the pork barrel scam. The Third Division is also trying the cases.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with