Enrile ‘pork’ scam pre-trial cancelled
The Sandiganbayan Third Division on Friday cancelled the scheduled pre-trial of detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for plunder over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang cancelled the pre-trial after Atty. Anacleto Diaz, the lawyer of Enrile’s co-accused and former chief of staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, raised his concern about the prosecution’s failure to furnish them original documents.
Tang said the pre-trial was cancelled because the preliminary conference, where the parties mark their pieces of evidence for presentation in trial, was not yet finished.
“Considering that the preliminary conference of this case is not yet terminated, the pre-trial is cancelled without prejudice to the conduct of the preliminary conference,” Tang said.
Enrile made his first public appearance since being put under hospital detention for plunder over the scam.
It was a reunion of sorts for all the accused in the pork barrel scam case. Gigi Reyes, rumored to be having an affair with Enrile, also arrived for the pre-trial.
Ruby Tuason, a former ally who turned against her friend Reyes and alleged boss Enrile, was also present as she was to testify against accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles for her bail hearing. Napoles was also present for the hearing.
Napoles, Enrile and Reyes were all present in the court room before the start of pre-trial. Tuason, meanwhile, kept away from the other accused, opting not to stay in the court room during the hearing.
Unlike in their first court meeting last year, Reyes and Enrile snubbed each other in the court room. Reyes sat on the far end, while Enrile at the front.
Meanwhile, Napoles skulked to the side of the courtroom hiding from the glare of the cameras outside.
After the hearing, the 91-year-old Enrile took small steps in going down the stairs. Flanked by cameramen and reporters, Enrile said he kept busy reading books about geography, capital generation and the like.
Asked if he saw Reyes, Enrile said: “I didn’t see her. I have no eyes behind.”
Asked about his health, Enrile said: “I’m okay. I’m doing a lot of reading, studying geography, capital generation, power competition, currency development.”
Enrile is under hospital detention and Reyes is detained at the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa for their alleged involvement in the purported scheme of pilfering the senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.
Socialite Tuason, who turned state witness, has identified her good friend Reyes as receiving the kickbacks for Enrile from Napoles.
Napoles is serving life sentence for the serious illegal detention of star witness Benhur Luy.
During the pre-trial, both parties would prepare for the conduct of the trial proper, including the marking of exhibits, stipulation of facts, identification of issues, and identification of the number of dates each party needs for presentation of evidence. IDL
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