The Sandiganbayan’s Special Third Division stood pat on its ruling that denied former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s plea for dismissal of a plunder case filed against him and several other individuals in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork b arrel scam.
In a resolution promulgated on April 27, the court thumbed down his motion for reconsideration.
“In sum, the court finds that accused Enrile has failed to present any sound reason for the court to overturn its resolution promulgated on January 31, 2017,” the Sandiganbayan’s Special Third Division said.
Enrile’s camp earlier asked the court to throw out or nullify the Information (charge sheet), arguing that there is no evidence against him and saying the Information failed to charge the offense of plunder.
In its January ruling, the court found that “the Information sufficiently alleges the ultimate facts constituting the crime of plunder.”
This prompted the defense to file a motion for reconsideration, arguing in part that “the court does not reflect accurately the basis of the accused’s ‘Motion to Quash…’”
But in its April ruling, the court found Enrile’s motion for reconsideration “devoid of merit.”
It said the January ruling “reflect[s]accurately” his ground in asking for the quashal of the charge sheet, adding that he raised the same argument.
The court, in part, added that Enrile “claims that the Information should be quashed on the ground that the facts alleged therein do not constitute the offense of plunder. This issue had been duly considered and thoroughly passed upon by the court” in its earlier ruling.
It thus denied “for lack of merit and/or for being pro forma” the motion for reconsideration filed by the defense.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who concurrently leads the court’s Third Division, penned the ruling, which was concurred in by Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses.
Enrile was charged along with his former aide Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes and alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles as well as Napoles’ then-employee John Raymund de Asis and her nephew Ronald John Lim.
He is one of three former senators namely, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who were charged in June 2014 along with Napoles and several other individuals in connection with the PDAF scam.
Both Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.
Napoles is serving a life sentence at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) after a Makati City (Metro Manila) court found her guilty in a serious illegal detention case filed against her by pork scam witness Benhur Luy.