January 30, 1998
By Uli Schmetzer, Tribune Staff Writer.
MANILA — Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile's love life became headlines this week, giving Filipinos their own domestic version of what allegedly went on in the White House, the seat of power of their old colonial masters.
Enrile is not the president, but his alleged tryst with a top aide prompted his wife of 40 years to leave him this week with the public quip that she no longer could tolerate his chasing after other women, including domestic helpers, cooks and assistants.
Enrile’s chief of staff also is allowed in the exclusive Senate lounge to hobnob with the senators. She also attends Senate caucuses where she “can speak her mind and join the discussion,” Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said in his privilege speech Wednesday.
Reyes’ brother, Patrick, also works in the office of the Senate President. Cayetano said to get to Enrile, you have to go through Gigi or Patrick.
So, who’s this Gigi Reyes, and why was she the star of Cayetano’s privilege speech?
The Chicago Tribune reported 15 years ago that Enrile’s wife Cristina walked out on him in January 1998 after charging adultery. The Tribune also reported that the “other woman “ was Gigi Gonzales-Reyes, Enrile’s chief of staff, about 30 years his junior.
Enrile and Reyes, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has learned, met shortly after Reyes graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1988 and joined the law firm of Pecabar (Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes and Manalastas).
“As chief of staff, we respect Ma’am Gigi. We allow her inside the lounge even if it’s off-limits to members of our staff because she’s helping the Senate President,” Cayetano told reporters a day after the usually reticent Reyes went on radio station dzMM to call Cayetano and a few other senators “hypocrites.”