SC to Sandigan: Raffle off plunder case

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The Supreme Court has directed the Sandiganbayan to raffle off the plunder complaint filed against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Janet Lim Napoles, the supposed brains of the Priority Development Fund Assistance (PDAF) scam.

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The High Court’s order was dated June 10, 2014 but it was not discussed by SC spokesman Theodoro Te when he briefed reporters about the case on Tuesday. A copy of the SC order was posted on Twitter.

When texted by Justice reporters, Te denied he knew the resolution.

“Have you read the reso? I haven’t. I only reported what I was authorized to say. Let’s just wait for the reso. Thanks,” Te said in a text message.

Te on Tuesday said the High Court directed the Sandiganbayan to comment on the request of the Office of the Ombudsman for the creation of special divisions that will exclusively handle cases related with the pork scam.

The Sandiganbayan division to which the plunder complaint will be raffled will issue warrants for the arrest of the three senators, Napoles and their co-accused once it determines that there is probable cause to jail the accused.

However, this early, calls for a house arrest for Enrile, who turned 90 in February, gained support in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. making the pitch.

Belmonte’s sentiments were echoed by House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora, as well as Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez of Leyte and Rep. Rodolfo Albano of Isabela.

“I think when you are 90, 80, or even 70 . . . you deserve some consideration from the courts. I would hate for anybody to go the kind of rigorous detention that we prescribe in our jails. Our jails are not the best in the world. I don’t want to see a 90-year-old individual going through this, regardless if he is innocent or guilty of whatever he is charged with,” Zamora, a lawyer, said in a news conference.

“I would say that [house arrest]is worth considering. But we don’t want to preempt the Sandiganbayan and the wishes of Senator Enrile. But we should not also forget that every body is innocent until proven guilty,” Romualdez said in a separate talk.

Enrile has been long entrenched in the government. He was the defense minister of President Ferdinand Marcos during the martial law years, a senator from 1987 to 1992, a Cagayan representative from 1992 to 1995, a senator again from 1995 to 2001, 2004 to 2010 and 2010 to present.

“It is too late in the day [for Enrile]. I am not sure if you are making any real lessons to be learned,” Zamora pointed out.

“Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is 90 years old and his being detained in an ordinary detention cell with other detainees would certainly be an ordeal that he could not withstand at his advanced age and will definitely pose threats to his health,” he said.

Zamora, however, clarified that he will respect the decision of the Sandiganbayan with regard to Enrile’s arrest.

“The important thing is everybody is treated equally and given the chance to defend themselves. Those are really the bedrock principles of all law-abiding societies,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima disclosed that the highly anticipated third batch of cases involving the PDAF or pork barrel scam is likely to be filed either on Friday or early next week.

De Lima said it would be the last batch of the cases that would be filed by the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with the 2007-2009 special audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“It’s going to be the last batch for that [COA report]. But that doesn’t mean that’s going to be the last batch for PDAF cases. There [were]also PDAF [allocations]before 2007 but that [filing of cases if the allocations were misused]would depend if we can build the [cases]on our level, otherwise we will refer [the matter]to the IAGC (Inter-agency Anti-Graft Council),” she told Senate reporters.

When asked if there are lawmakers and Cabinet officials who would be included in the complaints, de Lima neither confirmed nor denied it, only maintaining that they could only divulge the names at the time of the filing of the complaints.

The Justice secretary also said complaints would not include plunder because the amount supposedly received by the implicated individuals did not reach the threshold amount for plunder which is P50 million.

The DOJ was supposed to file the third batch of PDAF scam-related cases early this year but it was delayed because it wanted to make sure that the cases would pass the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan later.

It has filed two sets of complaints against lawmakers, government officials and private individuals implicated in the pork barrel scam.

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10 Comments

  1. There was not even a bit of consideration when the stole our money, so I don’t see any reason why give those thieves consideration.

  2. Kapag nagkasala kay matanda o bata hindi na ito pinag uusapan pa.
    Tanda matagal ng inaabuso tayong lahat mula pa ng deklera ang MARTIAL LAW.
    May kasabihan sa atin darating at darating ang may katapusan at sana ito na.
    Iyong mga iba tulad ni Jingkoy at Pogi eh sana matutuna tayong lahat lalong
    lalo na iyong mahihilig sa mga artista. Winaldas nila ang pondo nating lahat.
    Huwag na tayong magpadala dahil sakit lang ng ating ulo mga ito.
    Artista sila sa putting tabing hindi ba. Doon na lang sila. Kasi kaya sila may
    bentahi sa karamihan ng mas mas may kakayahan dahil sa popularity lang naman
    at talangan madrama pa mga ito. Ma lalaos na kaya Politika papasukan. Mas sigurado
    ito lalong lalo na sa PORK BARREL at nakita na natin ito. Gayon ang tanong ko papasok kaya itong tatlong musketeers sa Munit. Hindi sa Camp Crame para madanas naman nila ang makapiling na ordinaryong bilango.

  3. Rocky Coronel on

    This show of compassion with Enrile by Belmonte, Zamora et al is what I call the height of hypocrisy intended only to take their own personal gains. This kind of “soft heart” treatment enables many criminals to get off the hook, including the biggest of them all, Marcos, followed by GMA. This kind of attitude has been extremely exploited giving St. Luke (in reference to St. Luke’s Hospital) the moniker as the saint of the crooks. These politicians who tried to look compassionate towards their peers are making mockery of our justice system. Just recently Sen. Drilon is asking not to arrest the 3 accused during session and possibly be just under his care. I think they are equally guilty. And by sympathizing with these crooks I am inclined to believe they are also involved in similar anomaly.

  4. VICTOR DEL ROSARIO on

    Please don’t use age as an excuse to put this corrupt official to jail. The law does not discriminate race,creed,sex,or AGE.. He already enjoy his ill gotten money for 90Years , Whats wrong if he suffers for just 10 years ? If he lived that long…

  5. The process of holding ruffles by the Supreme Court is a shameful manner of trying any case anywhere. This option indicates that one court division may try a case while the rest idle. Let us try all political crimes with the best court we have. Holding ruffles is like playing Russian roullette . Let us try all cases in a speedy manner, and disregard the fricking brains at the top.

  6. House arrest is fine with me as long as he returns all the money. Ms Justice secretary, there are many more involved in this scam; not necessarily involving Napoles. Those who used other NGOs and those that connived with other contractors on ghost or substandard projects. Don’t just stop with the Napoles scam. All those cheats and thieves in gov’t and congress should all go to jail.

  7. Let us stop calling these three senators as opposition senators because I have never seen or heard from any of them true opposition to pnoy and his shenanigans. In fact they were willing recipients of the bribes to convict Corona and each voted accordingly as pnoy directed. Let’s not believe that they are being singled out because they are considered threats to the presidential plans of pnoy’s anointed in 2016, not one of them is a presidential timber, enrile is old and washed out and both jInggoy and revilla are “walang alam” so how can they think of themselves as serious contenders for the presidency. They are accused of plunder on the strength of the whistle blowers testimony and remember the list includes others too. Jinggoy made sense when he asked “bakit kami lang?” and somebody should wipe away the smiles of these hoodlums posing on TV like everything is just a “sarsuela” or something. Put them in jail that’s what they deserve while on trial and let’s of stop there get the others too including this “little lady” umali who is trying so hard to appear relevant on TV with his posturings about the energy situation as if he knew anything..

    • Steve Racilis on

      Follow the law. The ‘lady justice is bling’, does not know the age, gender, skin color, race, place of birth, past achievements or anything about the respondent(s). Word by word, the law must be followed and applied to all, exactly and not to be modified for any reason again, any reason.

  8. Well their arrest cant be ordered yet because they supreme court have to rule on something first then warrnts of arrest will be issued. & who cares if enrile is 90 years old, did it stop him from stealing or being accused of stealing these monies. There is no positng of bail for these offences so let him suffer like the rest, the courts will try him & if found guilty show him no mercy as did he care about the poor losing out to the tune of billions of pesos. No he didnt he just cared about how much he could steal from the country. I would rather see these scum hanged for their crimes against the people. If you asked the poor who have nothing what they thought & ask them what mercy would be shown them by any senator or court or anyone. None would be shown to the poor, take the case of the woman in front of the supreme court for not declaring in her saln her little market stall, was she shown any mercy no she was forbidden from ever working for government again, had all her pension & benefits revoked. So please dont speak to me of mercy for these scum who laugh at the poor of this country & treat incomes taxes as their own private bank account.

  9. All men are created equal, it says. Therefore In the administration of justice – NO consideration for any other status of a person if he has committed a grave offense against the people and his country should be talked about. They must suffer the consequences of their action. They are people, notoriously immoral. No age qualification, please.