MANILA - The Philippine government should consider tapping former Enrile chief of staff Atty. Jessica "Gigi" Reyes as a state witness in the P10 billion pork barrel scam, Sen. Antonio Trillanes said Monday.
"In light of the recent pronouncements, the [Department of Justice] or Ombudsman should seriously consider getting Atty. Gigi Reyes as a state witness," Trillanes said in a text message.
"Gigi Reyes dealt with [Janet Lim] Napoles directly so she has personal knowledge of the transactions. At the same time, she's the least guilty compared to the principals," he added.
For his part, Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV said he leaves it up to the Ombudsman if she believes Reyes should become a state witness.
At least 38 individuals including 3 incumbent senators are facing plunder and malversation raps before the Ombudsman for their alleged links to the P10 billion pork barrel scam. Reyes is one of several accused in the plunder and malversation charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and lawyer Levito Baligod.
The charges accuse Reyes, her former boss, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and other individuals of conspiring to funnel millions of pesos in priority development assistance fund allocations to fake non-governmental organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
During the weekend, Reyes said she felt betrayed following statements by Enrile's lawyer that the senator "did not give his blessings" to the actions taken by Reyes with respect to his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
"If indeed these statements are sanctioned by or coming from my former boss, then nothing can be worse than this kind of travesty and betrayal," she said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Reyes, who served Enrile for 25 years, said she has lost contact with her former boss, adding that "this very tragic development is beyond my comprehension."
She said that the last time she spoke with Enrile from abroad, "he maintained that he will stand by the authority he issued to me and that all that I did was faithful and pursuant to his instructions. He even told me to be strong; that we will fight together to prove the accusations against us are false and fabricated."
Reyes left the country last August 31 ahead of the filing of charges before the Ombudsman.
Reyes knew Napoles
Key whistle-blower Benhur Luy earlier told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that senators and congressmen got a 50% cut on all pork barrel funds allocated to fake NGOs linked to Mrs. Napoles.
He said the chiefs of staff of the lawmakers got a 5 percent cut of the pork barrel allocations.
Baligod earlier said none of the senators received money personally but used their subordinates to receive the cash from Napoles or her staff.
He said the whistle-blowers can attest that Reyes, former aide of Enrile, had regular contact with Mrs. Napoles and her staff.
"For now, I cannot tell you the details but si Atty. Reyes ang nakakausap ni Mrs. Napoles atsaka yung ibang staff," he said.