Enrile challenges gov’t case vs him and two senators
MANILA, Philippines – Despite seeking bail for a possible arrest soon, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile believes that the government has little to no basis for filing plunder charges against him and two other senators before the Sandiganbayan.
In a 53-page Urgent Omnibus Motion filed on Friday, June 13, Enrile questioned the veracity and quality of the evidence presented by the Office of the Ombudsman.
In the same motion, the senator also requested the Sandiganbayan to allow him to post bail in case the court decides to issue an arrest warrant for him. Enrile cited his poor medical condition as a reason for the request.
Weak body, strong defense
However, his defense against the plunder charges is anything but weak, Enrile made this clear in his motion.
Enrile said in his motion that an objective analysis of the supposed evidence would reveal that it is “inadequate, even inexistent,” based largely on hearsay and poor investigative work by the Ombudsman.
He cited evidence from whistleblower Benhur Luy as being “inconsistent” and “self-serving” with other evidence. Lawyers for Enrile say Luy’s ledger of transactions, the Commission on Audit’s report, and the Ombudsman’s investigative team do not tally.
“There is absolutely no evidence to support the indictment that Enrile participated or worse, benefited from the alleged misappropriation of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund)," the motion argued.
Enrile denied specifying which NGO would receive his PDAF allocation. And he also said that the rest of the whistleblowers have testified directly linking him to the PDAF transactions.
The veteran senator and former presidential candidate is charged with allegedly pocketing P172 million from his allocated P345 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) from kickbacks given by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Also named in the case were Enrile’s chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, and Napoles.
The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, headed by Presiding Justice Amparo Caotaje Tang, with Associates Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz will try all cases facing Enrile. The cases of both senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla went to two separate Sandiganbayan divisions. – Rappler.com