• Ombudsman appeals SC ruling on bill of particulars


    The Office of the Ombudsman asked the Supreme Court (SC) to recall its directive for the prosecution to provide Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s camp details on the P172 million-plunder complaint filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    In its motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman said providing details of the case “runs counter to the basic principles of procedural due process, the office of a bill of particulars, and the inherent right of the state to prosecute offenders.”

    It added that the ruling expanded the function of a bill of particulars “and encroached upon other procedural rules to unduly benefit an accused.”

    Under Section 9, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the purpose of a bill of particulars is to enable a defendant to properly plead and prepare for trial.

    The office said that a criminal charge is sufficient if it states the accused’s name, the designation of the offense, the acts or omissions complained of that constitutes the offense, the offended party’s name, the approximate date when as well as the place where the alleged crime was committed.

    It maintained that the charge sheet against Enrile is sufficient.

    “Even assuming that vagueness of the allegations of the Information (charge sheet) is the predicate of the Bill [of Particulars], the resultant deliberation would have to focus on the point of reference – should vagueness be determined by the accused? Or by the prosecution? Or by the court, whose presumed impartiality robed it with the authority to rule on and adjudicate actual controversies. Necessarily, the origins of the present Bill provision require further inquiry,” it said.

    Joseph Sagandoy, Enrile’s lawyer, said the prosecution may amend the charge sheet or submit a bill of particulars that alleges all the details and particulars of the charges required by the SC decision.

    The Ombudsman also earlier questioned the High Court’s ruling allowing Enrile to post bail, saying the tribunal erred when it granted the senator’s petition on humanitarian grounds.


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