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Cristina’s story: Enrile’s affair with Gigi Reyes went on ‘too long’

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What any individual does in his or her personal life is not usually anyone's business. But considering that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and his ex-chief of staff, alleged bagwoman, and rumored inamorata Jessica “Gigi” Reyes are two of the high-profile players in the unfolding drama of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, the relationship between the two is well worth examining.

Apparently, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima believes so as well. In an interview on GMA News' "Unang Hirit" Wednesday, she said the confirmation of the "closeness" of Enrile and Reyes could be of help in the ongoing investigation into the misuse of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The affirmation of the strength of Enrile and Reyes' relationship was made by Enrile's wife Cristina Castañer Enrile in an exclusive interview with Winnie Monsod on GMA Network's “Bawal ang Pasaway” on Monday.

On Wednesday, Enrile smilingly dismissed her claims as the “suspicions of a wife.”

Travails of the legal wife

There's a saying that goes “where there's smoke, there's fire”—and there has been much smoke around the alleged affair between Enrile and Reyes. So much, in fact, that it has been referred to as an “open secret” in the social circles the two move around in.

In the “Bawal ang Pasaway” interview, Mrs. Enrile revealed that the Enrile-Reyes relationship is indeed an affair—and that it was what pushed her to leave for the US and file for divorce.

Where most women would have walked out having found out about mistress number one, Cristina stayed with her husband throughout 56 years sprinkled with 38 infidelities—at least, 38 that she knows of and jotted down in a notebook, anyway.

But for some reason—amid her husband's alleged dalliances with close friends, daughters of close friends, and people who were complete strangers to her—she snapped when it came to Gigi Reyes.

“I had heard that she was already [in it] too long,” said Cristina. “He has had many girls before Gigi...but they don't last too long. And with Gigi, it lasted long.”

Cristina flew to the US to arrange their divorce papers. But in a phone conversation between the married pair, Enrile said, “Over my dead body will I give you a divorce.”

Cristina said she only met Reyes once, despite the latter's decades in Enrile's service. When asked what happened during that encounter, Cristina said with a chuckle, “I would rather not say it. It was not nice.”

She apparently “gave it to her”—and for a woman who once shot at the house where she believed one of her husband's mistresses to be staying, you can take her word for it. She and her husband have already kissed and made up.

A history of privilege

Enrile and Reyes reportedly met shortly after the latter passed the bar in 1988 and joined PECABAR (Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes and Manalastas), the law firm founded by Enrile and the late Senator Rene Cayetano.

In January 1998, a controversial report by the Chicago Tribune alleged that Cristina left Enrile because she could no longer tolerate his infidelity and asserted that the other woman was Reyes, who is 30 years Enrile's junior.

Enrile issued a press statement in response, admitting that he and Cristina were “facing a difficult time in our marriage and we talked about separation on her request before she left for the United States last Jan. 15.” They had just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

But he denied that Reyes was at the root of their problem, and he continues to deny it. He said there was no relationship between him and Reyes “other than an official and professional one.”

Even the professional side of their relationship has been criticized. In a privilege speech in January 2013, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano called Reyes the “24th senator,” who signs documents on Enrile's behalf, sits in caucuses where only senators are supposed to be present, and attacks other senators on radio.

Cayetano said in his privilege speech that Reyes virtually “runs the Senate.” He didn't go into detail regarding Enrile and Reyes' personal relationship, but revealed that he knew "a hundred truths."

"Tempted po talaga ako Mr. President na sumagot, tempted ako na magsalita din ng ganyan. Bakit po ako tempted? Bakit po ako natutukso na sumagot? Dahil sa bawat isang kasinungalingan na inilabas sa akin na nilabas ninyo mayroon akong isangdaang katotohanan ang alam ko sa inyo at ni Ma'am Gigi," he said.

Reyes has repeatedly refused to be interviewed since Cayetano's speech.

Two Senate staff members who refused to be named also told GMA News Online that Reyes is like an administrator, sending announcements of work suspensions in the event of floods and typhoons, and that she was the only staff member allowed onstage with the senatorial candidates in the May 2010 elections.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also noted that Reyes has been present in previous Senate caucuses, “but not all the time.”

And, as the cherry on top of all these allegations, potential state witness in the pork barrel scam Ruby Tuason submitted an affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last month, saying that she personally handed to Reyes kickbacks for Enrile.

In the affidavit, Tuason admitted she was the one who introduced alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to Reyes and Estrada.

The affidavit even detailed an incident when Enrile dropped by at a coffee meeting between Tuason and Reyes. Tuason also supposedly admitted to receiving a referral fee of 1.5 percent of the total amount of a specific transaction.

“Enrile would join us [Tuason and Reyes], when we are almost done, for a cup of coffee...” reads the affidavit. “He did not stay long. After coffee, he would leave and sometimes he would come to pick up Atty. Gigi Reyes.”

Enrile's longtime nemesis Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago stressed that detail, saying that Enrile's presence in coffee meetings between Tuason and Reyes is enough to prove conspiracy.


Reyes has since resigned from her post and left the Philippines to “seek some peace and quiet amid the barrage of adverse and downright insulting publicity and commentary against me in the mainstream and social media.” Her statement, which GMA News Online reposted with permission, details not only the hurt she feels with regard to what she perceives is the local media's bias against her, but Enrile's alleged betrayal of her.

"A certain Atty. Enrique dela Cruz has been doing the media rounds saying that Senator Enrile did not give his blessings to any of the acts I performed on his behalf. He directly accused me of doing things without the Senator’s knowledge and going beyond the authority conferred upon me. Not content, Atty. dela Cruz goes on to say that the office of the Senator was investigating me for what he calls 'katiwalian,' and that I, NOT THE SENATOR, will be liable.

"I have lost contact with Senator Enrile and this very tragic development is beyond my comprehension. Does this Atty. dela Cruz REALLY know whereof he speaks? Really?

"The last time I spoke to the Senator 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.

"I never once thought that this day would come. I never stepped on anyone’s toes nor abused my position in all the years I served in the Senate. But I have earned the bitter ire and enmity of some people by and large because and in defense of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.


Enrile has denied betraying Reyes. “I am not up to betray any of my people. I have never been known for that,” he said. However, one cannot help but wonder if Reyes counts her former boss's denial of her being authorized to discuss pork barrel transactions with Tuason as a betrayal.

Still, it seems that Enrile really hasn't betrayed any of his people, as he has yet to file charges against any of them despite a dare from Cayetano. — Vida Cruz/BM, GMA News
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