DURING en banc deliberations presided by acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the Sandiganbayan to comment by September 14 on Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s petition for bail in connection with plunder charges filed against him before the anti-graft court.
The charges arose from the P10-billlion pork barrel scam.
Enrile had pleaded for oral arguments of his case in the High Court, his release from jail and his right to post bail.
In a 70-page petition for certiorari before the SC dated September 4, 2014, he questioned the plunder charges before the anti-graft court’s 3rd Division, saying such raps “cannot even be considered [as constituting]a capital offense.”
“[A]fter due proceedings, annul, reverse and set aside a Sandiganbayan resolution dated July 14, 2014, and a resolution dated August 8, 2014, and forthwith grant bail in favor of Enrile,” the petition read.
Enrile said the prosecution has no strong evidence against him and, therefore, he has the right to post bail.
He was charged along with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and several government officials for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel racket.
The plunder charges were based on a fact-finding investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman backed by voluminous documentary evidence.
These documents include Commission on Audit reports showing how fake or questionable non-government organizations (NGOs) stole public funds from the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of legislators.
Enrile and two other senators—Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada—allegedly endorsed PDAF projects through Napoles’ fake NGOs supposedly in exchange for huge kickbacks for their endorsements.
In his petition, Enrile pointed out that he is not a flight risk.
He asked the SC that his advanced age and voluntary surrender be taken into consideration in his plea for bail.