SC asked to look into detention of Enrile’s former chief of staff

Published January 15, 2021, 7:49 AM

by Rey Panaligan 

Invoking her right to speedy trial, detained lawyer Jessica Lucila G. Reyes, former chief of staff of then Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to examine her detention since July 9, 2014.


In a petition that she filed with the assistance of lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, Reyes told the SC she was forced to invoke the ancient Writ of Habeas Corpus because since 2014, she has been detained for six years and seven months or a total of 2,409 days as of January 12.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus “is a writ directed to a person detaining another, commanding the former to produce the body of the latter at a designated time and place.”

It extends “to all cases of illegal and arbitrary detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty.”

Reyes was charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged P172.8 million kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).  

In 2016, the SC had dismissed Reyes’ bid to nullify the finding of probable cause and arrest order issued by the Sandiganbayan.

In May last year, the Sandiganbayan denied her plea for provisional release from the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City at the height of the coronavirus disease pandemic.

In her petition, Reyes told the SC: “Under our laws and those of other civilized nations, which respect human rights, when a person has committed a criminal offense, specifically under our Constitution… to have ‘a speedy, impartial and public trial.’”

Bur she said 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 the end beyond perception.”

Reyes asked the SC to direct the director of Camp Bagong Diwa “to make a return of the writ, produce the petitioner before the SC within five days” from receipt of the writ.