Gigi Reyes released from jail after grant of writ of habeas corpus

SC 1st division notes case vs her to ‘proceed independently’

(Eagle News) — The former chief of staff of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile charged for her alleged role in the pork barrel scam was released from jail on Thursday, Jan. 19.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said Gigi Reyes, who has been accused of helping amass P172.8 million in kickbacks through non-government organizations set up by Janet Lim Napoles, was released from the Taguig City Jail Female Dormitory at 6:30 p.m.

The BJMP said the release was by virtue of a petition for habeas corpus she filed and which was granted by the Supreme Court’s first division in a resolution dated January 17, 2023.

Reyes had argued her detention “has become oppressive thus infringing upon her right to liberty,” noting that it was “longer than any other accused similarly charged with the offense of plunder.”

She noted  this was also an infringement on her right to a speedy trial.

Prior to the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, Reyes had been detained for nine years in connection with the plunder case filed against her.

In her petition for the writ, she attributed the protracted trial proceedings at the Sandiganbayan to incorrect markings in the prosecution’s evidence.

The SC’s first division noted, however, that the grant of the writ would not influence the plunder proceedings against her.

“The [case] shall proceed independently and the court may lawfully exercise its jurisdiction over the proceedings,” it noted.

The first division also laid out conditions for Reyes’ release, which include attending case hearings.