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Gigi can be state witness vs Enrile — Miriam

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Manila -- Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chairperson of the Senate constitutional amendments committee, said yesterday Jessica ‘’Gigi’’ G. Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, is eligible to become a possible state witness against the senator in the plunder case arising from the controversial P10-billion pork barrel scam.

 

Senators Enrile, Jose ‘’Jinggoy’’ Estrada and Ramon ‘’Bong’’ Revilla Jr. were charged with plunder before the office of the Ombudsman after the Commission on Audit released a report on the questionable release of their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations from 2007 to 2009.

Earlier, a lawyer for Enrile said the senator did not authorize Reyes to sign any paper in connection with any transaction concerning the release of his PDAF funds to NGOs linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

In her keynote at the annual postgraduate course of the University of the Philippines (UP) Department of Emergency Medicine yesterday, Santiago listed the following reasons why she thinks Reyes could be used as state witness against Enrile:

1. There is absolute necessity for her testimony with respect to the senator.

2. Without her testimony, no other direct evidence will be available for the prosecution to prove plunder against Enrile.

3. Her testimony could be substantially corroborated in its material points.

4.  She does not appear to be the most guilty.

5. There is no evidence that at any time, she has been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.

A former judge, Santiago also discussed the establishment of conspiracy in criminal cases.

She said that under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), “a conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony, and decide to commit it,.

In criminal law, the basic effect of conspiracy is that the act of one is the act of all.

“Assuming for the sake of argument that giving pork barrel funds to the phony Napoles NGOs was the criminal design of his COS (chief of staff), under our laws, he merged his will into the common felonious intent.  The senator can no longer repudiate the conspiracy, after it had already materialized,” she said. (Manila Bulletin)

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