Napoles yet to sign pre-trial order; delays Enrile graft hearing anew
MANILA, Philippines – The hearing of the graft case against former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has been delayed anew as businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who was convicted for plunder in relation to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, has yet to sign the pre-trial order documents.
Napoles was again not available during the Sandiganbayan Third Division’s hearing on Tuesday, which was supposed to be the start of the prosecution’s presentation of evidence — irking the anti-graft court justices including division chair and Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
The pre-trial order is a document that includes all the facts stipulated and marked evidence that will be used for the proceedings. Without the accused signing the pre-trial order, the trial cannot start.
Napoles was ordered to appear before the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, February 12.
Enrile was accused of receiving kickbacks worth P172.8 million after allegedly allocating part of his PDAF to Napoles’ nonexistent non-government organizations (NGOs).
The 95-year-old former Senate President is out on bail in consideration of his age, while Napoles is currently detained at the Correctional Institute for Women after she was convicted in relation to another plunder case involving Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Revilla was later acquitted by the Sandiganbayan.
Enrile previously signed the pre-trial order last January 29, after attending the Third Division’s hearing. Other accused have also signed the documents during that day, but CIW officials said Napoles was not available to appear at the anti-graft court due to “health issues.”
The deadline for the signing of the pre-trial order should have been on January 31.
The graft case has been delayed for several due to issues he raised in the pre-trial stage of the case, prompting the Sandiganbayan to warn Enrile’s camp to stop further delaying the case.
Of the three high-profile cases involving Enrile, Revilla, and former senator Jinggoy Estrada, only Enrile’s case remains at the pre-trial stage.
Revilla’s case has been decided by the anti-graft court, while Estrada’s case is nearing its end as the court said that there was sufficient proof to show that Estrada and Napoles have agreed to funnel the PDAF to the ghost NGOs.
Edited by MUF
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