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Ex-Enrile chief of staff to present evidence in pork barrel scam

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 24) — The Sandiganbayan has directed the former chief of staff of then Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to begin her defense in a plunder case on the alleged diversion of a multimillion-peso discretionary fund available to lawmakers, commonly known as pork barrel.

In a resolution dated Oct. 17, the anti-graft court’s Third Division denied the motion for reconsideration of lawyer Jessica Lucila 'Gigi' Reyes on an earlier decision denying her plea to file a demurrer to evidence for lack of merit.

“No new arguments were raised that would warrant a reversal of the court’s resolution dated Sept. 19, 2023,” the court said.

The court said Reyes, in her motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence, repeatedly denied conspiring with Enrile, now chief presidential legal counsel, in the pork barrel scam.

But she claimed partiality when the court allowed Enrile to file a demurrer to evidence.

“While accused Reyes assails the alleged presence of conspiracy in this case, she now asserts the very same concept of conspiracy in her motion for reconsideration to entitle herself to file the intended demurrer to evidence,” the court said.

The court scheduled Reyes' presentation of evidence on Nov. 7 and 9.

Reyes was released from the Taguig City Jail last January after nine years in detention.

She is facing charges for receiving over ₱170 million worth of kickbacks from the Priority Development Assistance Fund on behalf of Enrile for diverting his pork barrel to fake non-government organizations controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.