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Sandiganbayan to Enrile: Don’t complicate your plunder case proceedings

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Sandiganbayan to Enrile: Don’t complicate your plunder case proceedings
The Sandiganbayan says 'any attempt to muddle or complicate this matter during the pre-trial' should not be allowed

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan dismissed a motion by the camp of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile involving his P172.83-million plunder case, saying that it would only complicate the proceedings.

In a 5-page resolution dated December 3, 2019, the anti-graft court’s 3rd Division said the “issues proposed by Enrile to be included in the pre-trial order do not simplify the issues to be tackled, but complicate it even further.”

Enrile is accused of allegedly pocketing P172.8 million in kickbacks from projects funded by his Senate office’s pork barrel. He is out on bail, as granted by the Supreme Court, for humanitarian considerations.

In his motion which called for the “simplification of proceedings,” Enrile proposed the following to be included in the pre-trial order: 

  1. whether the “acts” alleged in the plunder information really constitute “overt criminal acts” and it they were in fact committed by him
  2. whether such acts were committed in a “combination or series” as described in Republic Act No. 7080 or the plunder law
  3. whether he accumulated or amassed P50 million or more ill-gotten wealth by “repeatedly receiving…kickbacks or commissions” from co-accused Janet Lim Napoles and/or her representatives

The Sandiganbayan, however, stressed that a trial’s purpose is only to determine whether there is sufficient proof for all the elements of the offense. It said that granting Enrile’s motion would only give him “an unfair advantage.”

“The ultimate issue in every criminal case boils down to whether the guilt of the accused has been proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution,” the court said. “Any attempt to muddle or complicate this matter during the pre-trial should not be countenanced.”

“In effect, this could also lead to disallowing the prosecution from presenting certain evidentiary matters during trial,” the Sandiganbayan added. –

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