Sandiganbayan sides with Enrile on pork barrel case

Maris Federez   •   April 30, 2019   •   1628

The Sandiganbayan has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to produce the evidence against former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on the P172.8 million plunder case against him.

This is in response to the petition filed by the camp of former lawmaker before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to order the Ombudsman “to produce and permit the copying or photographing of any and all documents” as specified in the bill of particulars.

They argued that they need time “to study and consider the materials before trial is held.”

In its 6-page resolution issued on April 24, the graft court granted Enrile’s motion.

The Sandiganbayan said, “Enrile has absolute control on how to go about his defense. If in his mind, he needed to inspect or copy pieces of evidence [not privileged] which are material for him to make an intelligent defense, then he is allowed by the court to ask for the inspection or production of these documents.”

The court cited Section 10, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which allows the former Senate president to avail this remedy, considering the prosecution made use of government resources to prepare its case.

Therefore, on the argument that the request is equivalent to premature presentation of evidence, the court said “Ombudsman prosecutors were wrong to call Enrile’s motion premature.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the scope of the evidence that Enrile may access is only limited to documents related to the itemized charges against him.

Enrile is accused of pocketing some P172.8 million of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by channeling the money to the fake nongovernment organizations of convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles.

He was initially detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City but was later released by the court on humanitarian grounds considering that he is already 95 years old.

Associate Justice Ronald Moreno wrote the resolution, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.  –Maris Federez

Sandiganbayan dismisses P1-B civil case vs Marcoses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019

Philippines First Lady and current congresswoman Imelda Marcos (2-L) when she visited the tomb of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos to mark National Heroes Day at the ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani’ (Cemetery of Heroes) in Taguig City, south of Manila, Philippines, 28 August 2017. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

The second division of the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the civil case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against former President Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda Marcos for insufficient evidence over P1 billion worth of alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Based on the decision of the anti-graft court, the PCGG failed to present strong evidence against the Marcoses.

“The plaintiff Republic failed to prove by preponderance of evidence that the defendants by themselves, or in conspiracy with defendants Marcoses, obtained ill-gotten wealth,” the decision reads.

“Lastly, the court also finds that the defendants failed to prove their respective counterclaims alluding to alleged damages sustained.”

According to the Malacañang, the PCGG can still submit an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Marcoses should still be accountable if there is proof of ill-gotten wealth.

“Kung ill-gotten, we should always run after, basta ill-gotten (If it is ill-gotten we should always run after, as long as it is ill-gotten). It should be the policy of all governments to run after ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

The Sandiganbayan previously dismissed the P102 billion worth of forfeiture case against the Marcoses and other respondents last August.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PNP takes full control of training police recruits

Marje Pelayo   •   October 7, 2019

Newly promoted policemen stand in formation during a mass promotion ceremony at the police headquarters in Taguig city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 March 2019.  EPA-EFE / FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has taken full supervision of the National Police Training Institute (NPTI) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in a formal turn over on Monday (October 7) at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna.

The transfer of supervision was in accordance with Republic Act 11279 which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May this year.

“The Philippine National Police shall have administrative and operational supervision and control over the Philippine National Police Academy. and the National Police Training Institute,”

RA 11279 states that the transfer of administration is “to better achieve the goals of a highly efficient and competent police force.”

It is also in line with the PNP’s program of internal cleansing among its rank of ‘sloppy’ and ‘scalawag’ policemen.

PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is confident that by directly managing the police training institutions, the PNP will be able to achieve its targets of 10,000 police recruits who will be honed in lieu of the retiring police officers.

“The PNP is now solely responsible for the making of a complete police officer, from recruitment to retirement,” Albayalde said.

“Thus, we only have ourselves to blame if any PNP member will go astray because of poor training and orientation,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from April Cenedoza)

Roxas tells Enrile: Public office ban is for those facing plunder charges

Robie de Guzman   •   September 19, 2019

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas

MANILA, Philippines – Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday twitted former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, saying those accused of plunder or stealing from government coffers should be the ones banned from seeking or holding public office.

“Ahem. Yung dapat barred from public service at makulong, yung may kaso ng plunder,” Roxas said in a Twitter post.

Roxas’ remark was an apparent response to Enrile’s statement that Roxas and detained Senator Leila de Lima should be “disqualified forever from holding public office” for the mess brought about by the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) they drafted for the Republic Act 10592 or the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

READ: Enrile wants De Lima, Roxas perpetually barred from public office for GCTA mess

Enrile earlier blamed Roxas and De Lima, then Justice Secretary, for the irregularities in the implementation of the law which led to the questionable release of 1,914 heinous crimes convicts since its enactment in 2013.

“They should be disqualified forever from holding public office. Sila ang may kasalanan sila ang gumawa eh the people below them are being guided of what they did,” Enrile said in a media interview at the Senate on Wednesday.

The former lawmaker said the law clearly states that convicts involved in heinous crimes are among those excluded from availing of the early release rule based on good conduct credits.

Enrile said the IRR crafted by De Lima and Roxas, which supposedly added heinous crime convicts as GCTA beneficiaries, was “unconstitutional and void ab initio (from the beginning).”

But according to Roxas, the IRR faithfully reflects the RA 10592 and the Revised Penal Code, stressing that each provision corresponds to specific parts and paragraphs of the statute particularly on exclusion of inmates convicted of heinous crimes.

“Allegations that the IRR has strayed from the law on which it is based are unquestionably unfounded,” Roxas explained in a letter responding to the Ombudsman’s request on the matter.

Roxas cited Rule 4, Section 6 of the law’s IRR on provisional release while under preventive imprisonment, which states that: “Whenever an accused has undergone preventive imprisonment for a period equal to the imposable maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be sentenced and his case is not yet decided, he shall be released immediately without prejudice to the continuation of the trial thereof or the proceeding on appeal, if the same is under review, except for the following: ‘recidivist, habitual delinquent, escapee, person charged with heinous crimes’.”

Enrile, 95, is facing a P172-million plunder charge before the Anti-Graft court in relation to the P10 billion pork barrel scam which involved businesswoman Janet Napoles and other public officials.

He is currently out of prison after the Supreme Court granted him temporary liberty in 2015 for humanitarian reasons.  

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