MANILA (Mabuhay) – Lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, has asked the Supreme Court to quash the arrest warrants issued by the Sandiganbayan against her for plunder and 15 counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In an 18-page supplemental petition, Reyes through her lawyer Anacleto Diaz, also asked the high court to stop the Sandiganbayan Third Division from proceeding with the hearing on the case against her.
Reyes was ordered detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig. She is currently at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City.
In her petition, Reyes said the anti-graft court committed grave abuse of discretion when it “hastily” issued the arrest warrants for plunder on July 4, 2014 and for graft on July 7, 2014 against her.
She said the anti-graft court failed to properly perform its duty of personally evaluating the evidence on record in determining the existence of a probable cause to warrant the issuance of arrest warrants against her.
Instead of evaluating the evidence, she said the Sandiganbayan simply adopted without citing any reason, the findings of the Ombudsman that she should be prosecuted for graft and plunder.
The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure mandates any judge to personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence to determine the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the accused, she said.
Under the same provision, the judge may immediately dismiss the case if evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause, or in case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, he may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that had the Sandiganbayan conducted a judicious and independent evaluation of the evidence on record, it would have determined that there is no probable cause against petitioner for the crimes of plunder and violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 charged against her.
“Thus, the informations filed against petitioner should have been dismissed and thrown out by the Sandiganbayan…,” Reyes added.
Last month, Reyes sought the high court’s help asking to nullify the finding of probable by the Office of the Ombudsman to charge her along with her former boss and several others for plunder and graft in connection with the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam. (MNS)