The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division deferred the pre-trial of the graft cases filed against former senatorJuan Ponce Enrile and several others in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
During the scheduled pre-trial on Monday, the court reset the same to June 26 because the parties have not yet finished marking the documentary evidence that they intend to present during the pre-trial.
The prosecution told the court that they were “still marking our exhibits particularly our FIO documents, Your Honor” and needed nine more settings to finish marking their evidence.
FIO is the Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office.
The court thus canceled the scheduled Monday pre-trial and reset it to June next year.
It also scheduled preliminary conferences on several dates beginning on January 9 until May 31 for both the prosecution and the defense to finish marking their respective exhibits.
Enrile was one of three then-senators, namely Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, against whom the Office of the Ombudsman filed plunder and graft charges in June 2014 along with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and several others in connection with the PDAF scam.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court (SC) granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.
Enrile is seeking dismissal of the P172-million plunder case filed against him as he said there is no evidence against him and that the information (charge sheet) failed to charge the offense.
“The details provided by the prosecutors in the bill of particulars are totally irrelevant as they are not the allegations of overt acts contemplated under the plunder law as constituting the crime of plunder. Neither is there anything in the Information or bill of particulars that alleges that Enrile himself, directly or indirectly, received any amount of public funds as kickback or commission,” the defense said in a 70-page Motion to Dismiss/Quash the Information filed earlier.
“Allowing Enrile to stand trial despite a fatally defective Information is not only vexatious, but also a wasteful expense of precious time and resources on the part of the accused, the courts and the prosecution. Accordingly, the quashal of the Information, and the dismissal of this case is in order,” it added.
The defense said, among others, that Benhur Luy, Ruby Tuason and other prosecution witnesses testified during hearings on petition for bail by Janet Lim-Napoles that they have not seen Enrile receive any alleged kickback or commission.
Napoles is said to be the architect of the P10-billion “pork” scam. REINA TOLENTINO