The former chief of staff of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Supreme Court for help for her possible release from detention on the ground the Sandiganbayan violated her right to due process and for “a speedy, impartial and public trial.”
In her petition for habeas corpus, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes said she had been detained since July 9, 2014 for a period of six years and seven months, or for 2,409 days as of Jan. 12, 2021, without any sign of being freed soon.
A writ of habeas corpus is a remedy applicable to cases of illegal confinement or detention where a person is deprived of liberty, or where the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled to it.
“In the case of petitioner [Reyes], she has been and continues to be under detention now for a period of six years, seven months or for 2,409 days and counting,” Reyes said.
Reyes has been detained pending trial at Camp Bagong Diwa for her alleged role in a pork barrel scam, wherein Enrile allegedly received kickbacks amounting to P172.8 million from Janet Lim Napoles, the convicted mastermind of the multi-million-peso illicit scheme.
The pork barrel scam is a conspiracy where public funds, specifically from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, were funneled to bogus non-government organizations set up and/or owned by Napoles.
Reyes filed last year a motion for a provisional release on May 27, citing reports that Camp Bagong Diwa might be dangerous for inmates as congestion posed a greater risk for COVID-19 transmissions. She also said although she was only 57 years old, she had several underlying health conditions that made her vulnerable to disease.
However, the Sandiganbayan denied her appeal on the ground “there is no positive showing that [Reyes] is in actual or even imminent danger of being infected by the COVID-19.”
In her petition for writ of habeas corpus, Reyes noted that others who were similarly facing plunder charges had been released, such as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was acquitted by the high court.
She also mentioned Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. who was also acquitted, as well as Enrile and former senator Jinggoy Estrada who were allowed temporary freedom on bail.