SC grants Enrile motion for bill of particulars
The Supreme Court has granted detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s bid to reverse a Sandiganbayan’s ruling dismissing his motion for Bill of Particulars in connection with his plunder case for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
A bill of particulars is filed to make the allegations more specific. It is filed if a defendant in a criminal case believes he is not sufficiently informed of the crime with which he is charged and is not in a position to defend himself properly and adequately.
Voting 8-5, the high court on Tuesday granted Enrile’s petition.
BACKSTORY: Enrile goes to SC for details of charges
The eight who voted in favor of Enrile were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Estela Perlas Bernabe.
The five who opposed the motion were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serenio, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama and Marvic Leonen.
On the other hand, Associate Justices Francis Jardeleza and Bienvenido Reyes took no part. Jardeleza inhibited from the case due to his previous participation in the case as Solicitor-General while Justice Reyes is on leave.
“The Court directed the Ombudsman to submit a Bill of Particulars providing the information to be contained in the Court’s judgment,” high court’s Information Chief Theodore Te said at a press conference.
During his arraignment last year for plunder, Enrile refused to enter a plea which prompted the Sandiganbayan to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf.
But the high court also gave Enrile the opportunity to confirm or change the plea that the Sandiganbayan entered for him “if he so wishes.”
In his petition, Enrile wants the following matters to be clarified:
* Who among the accused acquired the alleged ill-gotten wealth worth P172 million?
* What are the particular overt acts they have committed to constitute the “combination”?
* What are the particular overt acts which constitute the “series”? The Information stated that “by repeatedly receiving from Napoles and/or her representatives kickbacks, commissions before, during and/or after the project identification, Napoles gave Enrile and/or Reyes received, a percentage of the cost of a project to be funded from Enrile’s PDAF’…”
The Senator also asked that they be clarified about the following:
* What was ‘repeatedly’ received? If amounts of money, the amount and if on several occasions, state the date, amount and place where it was given;* Name of the specific person who delivered, who received the amount and how much;
* The circumstances during, before and/or after the project identification, name and nature of the project and where was it located;
* In describing the said projects as fictitious, what is the basis?
* How Enrile took advantage of his position and why?”
The Sandiganbayan third division, however, in July 2014 denied the motion saying the information Enrile’s camp wants should be better threshed out during the trial.
But Enrile, in his petition before the high court, said “those particulars are material facts that should be clearly and definitely averred in the complaint in order that the defendant may, in fairness be informed of the claims made against him to the end that he may be prepare to meet the issues at the trial.”
Enrile said the Sandiganbayan’s act of denying his motion for bill of particulars “is a denial of due process and a serious violation of petitioner’s constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. This is certainly grave abuse of discretion.”
They added that with the Sandiganbayan’s denial, Enrile is left to guess his act of participation in the crime of plunder.
On Thursday, August 6, the anti-graft court ruled to proceed with Enrile’s pre-trial on plunder, citing that his motion for the bill of particulars was still pending with the Supreme Court and that no temporary restraining order has been issued.
Enrile is one of the three senators accused of plunder in connection with the PDAF scam. He is currently in hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police General Hospital, while co-accused senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada are detained at the PNP custodial center. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.