• Ombudsman junks defense of 3 senators in plunder case

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    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has junked the motions for reconsideration of Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who face plunder charges in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

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    In three separate joint orders all dated June 4, Morales noted that the motions of the senators are mere verbatim repetitions of the issues and claims they raised in their counter-affidavits.

    The case stems from the funneling of PDAF allocations to bogus nongovernment organizations of Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for kickbacks to lawmakers.

    “Evidently, the motions for reconsideration are rehashes of the arguments previously raised by them and already resolved by this Office. The Office [of the Ombudsman]is set to file with the Sandiganbayan the criminal Informations for Plunder and violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the joint orders read.

    “Probable cause, for purposes of filing a criminal information—refers to facts that are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed, the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial—needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused,” the orders added.

    Morales, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, approved the filing of plunder charges against the three senators last April 2. She also ruled against the motions of Napoles, Enrile’s former chief-of-staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, Jo Christine Napoles (daughter of Mrs. Napoles), Department Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Revilla’s aide Richard Cambe, among others.

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