No way out for Enrile, Estrada

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Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado and her children carry bags of food as they visited Sen. Ramon “Bong’ Revilla in his detention quarters in Camp Crame on Sunday. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado and her children carry bags of food as they visited Sen. Ramon “Bong’ Revilla in his detention quarters in Camp Crame on Sunday. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

The Sandiganbayan is expected to issue warrants for the arrest of senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Wednesday , despite the lawmakers’ protestations that there is no probable cause for the anti-graft court to order their incarceration, sources said on Sunday.

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Last week, the First Division issued a warrant for Sen. Ramon ‘Bong” Revilla Jr. All three senators were charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, and several counts of graft.

A source of The Manila Times at the Sandiganbayan said on Sunday that from what they have read of the complaints, the justices are of the belief that there is probable cause against Enrile and Estrada. The source added that the court may not grant Enrile’s appeal that he be allowed to post bail.

“It’s likely that the divisions will come out with the arrest warrants on Wednesday,” the source told the Times. He noted that the court will not delay its rulings on the determination of probable cause because the public is also awaiting the Sandiganbayan’s decision.

“Masyadong mainit sa mata ng tao ang mga kaso, kaya di pwedeng i-delay (The cases are hot and the public is closely following them, so they should not be delayed),” he said.

Enrile, 90, earlier said regardless of the presence or absence of probable cause, he should not be jailed because of his “poor” and “frail” condition.

The prosecution had opposed his motion for bail.

Pleadings related to the two cases were submitted for resolution before the two divisions last Friday.

Estrada is accused of pocketing P183 million in kickbacks by channeling his pork barrel or priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by Janet Lim-Napoles. Enrile was alleged to have received P172 million also in “pork” kickbacks.

Also last Friday, Enrile’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza challenged the prosecution to pick out from the documents the piece of evidence that will nail down his client.

He later told reporters that his client “did not receive nor steal even just one peso of public money.”

“Ombudsman, why did you charge Senator Enrile with plunder?” Mendoza asked.

He claimed that the charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman did not meet the constitutional requirement that the accused be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation.

But the prosecution insisted that the charges against the two senators are supported by evidence.

Government lawyers said the complaints were based on affidavits of witnesses and documents, contradicting Estrada’s claim that he was charged based on hearsay evidence and speculation.

“The records of the case in possession of the Honorable Court would already sustain the proposition that sufficient evidence exists not only for the issuance of arrest warrants, but also for the conviction of the accused,” the prosecution said.

It noted that among the documents presented to the court are copies of special release allotment orders (Saros), the list of pork barrel-funded projects that have been verified as ghost projects by the Ombudsman’s field investigation office, the alleged project beneficiaries, project costs, NGOs and corresponding memorandums of agreement (MOA), as well as a special report of the Commission on Audit.

Stephen David, counsel for Napoles, also questioned the plunder complaint filed against his client. He said Napoles is not a public official who can be held liable for plunder.

But the prosecution maintained that she had direct participation in the offense, and the complaints filed against Enrile and Estrada detailed how she aided the senators in committing plunder.

Estrada, through his chief of staff Pauline Labayen, allegedly chose the NGOs and in exchange for his endorsement of Napoles’ NGOs to implement his pork barrel projects, he got millions in kickbacks.

Citing Ruby Tuason’s testimony, the prosecution alleged that Estrada repeatedly received huge amounts from Napoles. Tuason testified that she was a “go-between” of Napoles and Estrada and that she had personally delivered money to him.

Amid the swapping of charges and denials, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Samuel Martires gave assurances that they will not be swayed by public opinion when they sit down and deliberate on the many pleadings filed before the court.

“We will not be swayed by public opinion. We will only be guided by what is on record,” Tang said.

Associate Justice Alex Quiroz said they will carefully study the allegations.

Quiroz serves as the “warm body” to fill the vacancy in the Fifth Division, which handles Estrada’s case since President Benigno Aquino 3rd has not yet appointed a justice.

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14 Comments

  1. Finally nasa kulungan na itong dalawang artista. Talaga nga naman humihirit
    pa sa pag aarte nito sa pag pasok nila sa Crame. Umpisa lang ito ang
    kalbaryo nila at ito namang si Erap madrama pa rin. Dapat magising na
    ang taong bayan sa pag halal ng mga artista kay lalaki o babae at mga
    trapo dahil talagang ginagamit lang nila and masa. At itong si TANDA
    ikulong na rin. Marami ng perwisyo ang idinulot nito sa taong bayan mula
    pa noong deklera MARTIAL LAW. Sabi daw niya walang mapatunayan
    laban sa kanya. Sabi ni PNOY umpisahan ko ito at iyong susunod na
    papalit sa akin ang bahala ng mag papatuloy nito.

    Sa palagay ko tama siya. Marami sa atin ang mahuhusay kaya lang walang pera.
    Sa nangyari nito gayon, Taong bayan na ang bahala.Dalang dala na tayong
    lahat sa mga trapo na matagal ng umaabuso sa ating mga kababayan.

    I hope this time around we can really call It “ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES”.

    “MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT NA MGA PILIPINO”

  2. mikhail hieronymus on

    Thanks God…all three thieves will be in jail, and hopefully they grow old and grey until they become senile.
    For recreations, they can start training those rats and cockroaches to do tricks like in the circus. Enjoy your life in jail, boys.
    BTW, where are you hiding those stolen money. Please return it to the government. The poor people can use it.
    Hopefully too, the rest of the crooks will join them in jail soon!

  3. Darating ang araw ng paniningil kay Abnoy and his yellow cohorts, and to them make the most of your time habang di pa narating yon dahil mas masakit at nakakahiya kayo sa buong mundo.

    • Caviteno your kabayan Revilla is a crook and thief! You must have a bad cavity in your brain to defend him. How can he afford mansions in cavity and Alabang worth 300 Millions. He’s income as Senator and actor would not be enough to build those mansions. The answer is it came mostly from Napoles on Revillas pork barrel allocation. Bong mu,st have learned this trick from his own father Revilla Sr who is also involved in pork barrel scam. Like father like son! Good riddance! Revilla still toying the idea of running for President in2016, Wow’ what a delusional mind! Thick faced and crooked brain!

  4. Angel Pulido on

    BINGO! The whole country says Thank you for doing a wonderful job. Put them all in jail. Like in the old west, hang them all high.

    • They have not been proven yet. They should be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and prosecutors should and must have solid, material evidence and NOT affidavits from whistle blowers their words against the individual senators who are being accused. Probable cause but if there are no solid, material evidence conviction is nil unless there is collution, connivance amongst the judges/justices. Hoping there is NO INCENTIVE award given by Pres. Benigno Aquino III who in 2016 should be prosecuted for creating DAP which is against the Philippine Constitution.

  5. Corruption and Bribery are rampant in the country, the reasons, the investors shy away from investing in the Philippines. These are the biggest challenge of any President to govern this country because of the well entrenched corruption. I thought there will never be a courageous President to tackle this difficult job, in my lifetime, but thanks to God and President Aquino, these criminal activities is beginning to unravel. I also know that there are members of the President’s party who are suspect of doing the same, and in due time will also be dealt with, and one after another will fall. I fervently hope and pray that the voters in the next election will elect a president who is courageous and scrupulous, guided by his love of God, Country and people, These principles are certainly endearing attributes of a leader that the Republic of the Philippines needs, during this challenging times. may God bless the Philippines and people.

  6. Why do you all insist on calling plunder a non-bailable offence, when people can get bail for plunder. So by definition if you can get bail then its a bailable offence. I wish someone would explain this to me as i find it very confusing as in english its explained very simply. Its so strange how you then go on to discuss why he should or should not get bail, well if its a non-bailable offence how does it get discussed. Its things like this that makes this country a laughing stock in the rest of the world. Its like seeing a dog bite someone & say no she doesnt bite anyone. When you would say oh she has never bitten anyone before so this is a first. You wouldnt say no she still hasnt bitten anyone as you just saw her bite someone. I mean if its a non bailable offence why would they even discuss bail. Please someone explain it to me as its driving me crazy.
    Now why do they have to explain to enriles lawyer why they have charged him, he has received the charge so he knows why. They will have the right to defend themselves in court, tell his lawyer thats the proceedure. The prosecution will produce their evidence in court as its already been assessed that there is enough evidence to charge him in court so let him answer it in court do not let enrile & his lawyers make a mockery of the system as he is a part of the system, remember how he admonished corona at times in his court well he should also be admonished as he isnt above the law.

    • As I understand it, plunder as a non-bailable offense is the rule. No bail is set for it. But nothing stops lawyers from arguing, for example, that their client is entitled to bail in an offense punishable by life imprisonment if evidence of guilt is not strong – something that one still has to prove in court.

    • Plunder is a non-bailable offense only when evidence of guilt is strong. If weak evidence, plunder is bailable. To determine if evidence is strong or not there must be presentation of evidence (witnesses testimony and documentary) which really is the function of trial proper or merits of the case. Hence a Motion for bail if granted means the evidence is weak and Motion To Dismiss can also be granted on the ground that the charge cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
      Unlike in other non-plunder offenses like graft or malversation, regardless of strength of evidence, the offense is bailable.

  7. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    The arrest of the three senators is another example of the vindictiivess of this
    administration.If this administration is fair why then that Abad, Alcala and
    Villanueva are not investigated too. No less than Napoles and the rest of the
    whistleblowers pointed to Abad as the pork mentor. But this administration
    continues to coddle and protect him. Or this Abnoy have no choice except
    to shield him so he will not sing. Still determining if there is probable cause
    against them? Common. This long? Why then, it took a very short time that
    they were able to determine the probale cause against the three senators.
    Why can’t they do the same thing to Abad, Alcala and Villanueva. It does not
    matter who will be arrested if it is done fairly. In this case, it is very garapal that
    only these three oppositionist are being targeted when majority of the senators
    and congressmen were bribed during the impeachment of Corona. Hindi na
    ba kayo naawa sa mga naghihirap na mga sa pilipinas? Ang daming taong
    naghihirap pero ninanakaw lang ang pera ng gobiyerno. Dapat lahat ng mga
    nagkasala ay maparusahan whether opposition or allies of the administration.
    Hindi yong kapag naka-alyado ni Abnoy, eh, libre na. This president should not
    escape responsibility being the overall head. He should know the meaning of COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.

  8. tanda s poor and frail health condition do not merit for his arrest.why not? did he ever think that when he stole the money? he may be old, but that does not excuse him from being punished.besides, his wealth from martial law years have never been recovered, so this is the best time to put him in jail.a lot of the ss nazi after world war were hunted jailed and persecuted because of their crime no matter what age they were.this is the best time to put justice to this old man who never been punished for so numerous crimes against the state.

    • Galitsamagnanakaw on

      Good on you for sighting relevant facts. When Marcos was accused of killing rival politician, he let go for being to young to waste talent by going to jail. But lo! looked what’d happened. Same as Enrile, he gained so much experience from other corrupt politicians and also his own techniques. Now is the time for reckoning. Time has catch with you and all the ill gotten money. I hope you rot in jail. I also hope that your family will face the same fate as you.

  9. Enrile and Estrada Warrants of Arrest Justified.
    All the Sandiganbayan has to rely on is the testimonies of witnesses (whistleblowers), COA audit findings and other documentary evidence (letter of senators to Agencies to allocate their PDAF to their designated NGOs of LGUs) to come up with finding of
    “probable cause” for the issuance of the warrants of arrest. Preliminary determination of probable cause (crime of plunder or graft, or malversation have been committed (funds said to have been given to fictitious NGOsupon direction of senators (plunderers) and allegation senators received or got portion of the pork barrel, directly or indirectly thru agent or his staff in contact with Napoles, are sufficient basis of probable cause (crimes were committed and accused are probably guilty thereof). At this stage, that is the only requirement for issuance of warrants of arrest. It is only after presentation of witnesses and their testimonies and documentary evidences and evaluation of these proof to weigh if such amounts to showing of guilt beyond reasonable doubt that a guilty verdict is proper. Short of this, acquittal is the consequence.
    Meanwhile, the accused plunderers/thieves must be detained in a place for common criminals with just basic facilities (bed and toilet), not as a vacation apartel or hotel suite. They must suffer mentally and physical for the ignominious theft of people’s money. They greedily consumed the money supposedly intended for indigent people and used it to flaunt via mansions, cars, luxurios living, like Revilla and Estrada. On one hand, Enrile who has amassed ill-gotten wealth since Marcos time has not been satisfied and continued like a crocodile feasting on money belonging to the people!
    JunAdan
    New York City