No legal ground to grant Gigi Reyes bail: Sandigan

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    THE Sandiganbayan has slammed the door on any further attempt by lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes to regain her liberty through posting of bail, declaring there is nothing in law or jurisprudence that allows it to hold another bail hearing after the original petition has been denied.

    In a 15-page resolution penned by Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang, the Third Division said it will be an overreach for the court to grant bail when there is no basis in law to do so.

    “Any ruling by the Court providing for the release of an accused on bail or recognizance should comply with the provisions of the Constitution. To do otherwise would be tantamount to the Court acting in excess of its jurisdiction,” the Sandiganbayan said.

    Associate Justices Ronald B. Moreno, Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta, Bernelito R. Fernandez, and Geraldine Faith A. Econg concurred.

    Reyes, a staff member of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, is accused of assisting the latter to amass P172.83 million in kickbacks and commissions by funneling his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocations into bogus foundations and non-government organizations created by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

    Napoles and her employee John Raymund de Asis are also charged as co-defendants in the plunder case.

    This is the fourth time the anti-graft court has denied bail to Reyes.

    She has previously invoked weakness of the prosecution’s evidence which was denied on June 28, 2018 and again on appeal on December 7, 2018.

    On May 27, 2020, Reyes filed another request for bail, invoking humanitarian grounds and the COVID-19 pandemic. She claimed she is worried about her health while detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

    This was also thrown out by the court in its resolution dated September 29, 2020.

    In her appeal, Reyes clarified that she is no longer challenging the strength of the government’s evidence against her but is pleading for “sympathy, compassion, and charity.”
    The court, however, stood pat that the plea is not backed by any law.