SENATOR Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the trial of the plunder and graft charges filed against him over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.
In a petition, Enrile through his lawyer Estelito Mendoza, on Thursday asked the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction, which would stop the Sandiganbayan’s 3rd Division from proceeding with his case.
The senator, who is facing one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft, is currently detained at the Philippine National Police General Hospital at Camp Crame, the PNP’s main headquarters in Quezon City.
“There cannot be a more blatant act of a court that is without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess of jurisdiction, than one which violates the rights of an accused under the Constitution and precludes the fairness of a trial,” Enrile said.
He also asked the SC to expedite the resolution of his petition.
In particular, Enrile asked the tribunal to junk the July 11, 2014 resolution issued by the anti-graft court, which denied his motion for a Bill of Particulars.
“The denial by the Sandiganbayan of petitioner Enrile’s motion for [a]Bill of Particulars is consequently not a mere denial of a procedural right granted an accused under the Rules of Court, but of rights vested in an accused under the Constitution to assure fairness of the trial of the offense charged. For, indeed, only when the trial is fair can there be a judgment that is just,” he pointed out.
Enrile and several others, including his former chief of staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, are accused by the Ombudsman of allegedly having amassed P172.8 million in kickbacks from 2004 to 2010, through non-government organizations associated with suspected pork scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
He maintained that under Section 9, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, an accused has the right to move for a “Bill of Particulars” to enable him or her to properly plead and prepare for the trial.
Among the details Enrile wanted to know before he was arraigned were the names of the specific people who delivered and received the P172,834,500 that he allegedly pocketed, as well as the dates and places where they were delivered.
He also wanted the description of each project for which his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel would have been used, including those who identified the project, as well as its nature, location and cost.
Enrile said the Sandiganbayan’s denial of his motion for a Bill of Particulars “compels him to go to trial with one eye blindfolded.”