After nine years in prison, following a Supreme Court ruling, former aide of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Jessica “Gigi” Reyes was released from prison on January 19, 2023. Reyes was involved in a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal (“pork barrel”) and was imprisoned since July 2014.
The court decision also opens new perspectives in the case of long-time prisoner and former senator Leila de Lima. Reyes had filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, which allowed her to bring her case to court to determine the lawfulness of her detention. A new form of writ of habeas corpus was created through the ruling in Reyes’ case that can be invoked by other petitioners such as de Lima.
Dino De Leon, one of De Lima’s lawyers, emphasized that there is no longer a sufficient legal basis against his client. Several witnesses in her case have already withdrawn their testimonies. Currently, De Lima is awaiting the court’s decision on two petitions for release on bail. It is likely that a petition for writ of habeas will be submitted. Her attorneys also believe that De Lima’s ongoing trial could be resolved by March 2023.
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