Enrile to seek dismissal of graft case over ‘pork barrel’ scam

Enrile to seek dismissal of graft case over ‘pork barrel’ scam

/ 05:36 AM April 03, 2024

Enrile to seek dismissal of graft case over ‘pork barrel’ scam

Legal Counsel and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile VOLTAIRE F. DOMINGO/JOSEP VIDAL/SENATE PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday gave former Senate President and now Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile 15 days, or until April 17, to file a motion for the outright dismissal of his graft case in connection with the alleged diversion of his “pork barrel” funds from 2004 to 2010.

Enrile, who did not appear in court and was represented by his lawyer, Jecko Bello, chose to file a demurrer to evidence without leave of court during the initial defense trial of the case with 46 other co-accused, including his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes.


Enrile and Reyes are on trial in the antigraft court’s Third Division for 15 counts of graft, on top of a separate plunder charge, for allegedly pocketing more than P172 million in payoffs from the former senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) covering the years 2004 to 2010.


READ: WHAT WENT BEFORE: The P10 billion pork barrel scam

The filing of the demurrer to evidence without leave of court means that Enrile wants to do away with the presentation of witnesses and proceed with the resolution of his case on the grounds that the prosecution’s evidence against him is insufficient.

Charges will be dropped

If the court grants his demurrer to evidence, the charges against him will be dropped. But if it is thrown out, the hearings will proceed.

Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the PDAF scam, is also a respondent in the graft case. She is currently detained at the Correctional Institute for Women for earlier convictions.

In September 2023, the Sandiganbayan also allowed Enrile to file a demurrer to evidence for his plunder case. But a month later, the court said it would resolve his motion “simultaneously or jointly with the main decision after the presentation of evidence of the other accused.”

READ: Enrile allowed to file demurrer in pork scam case


The ongoing cases before the antigraft court involving the multibillion pork barrel scam came from the plunder and graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2014 against Enrile and then fellow Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada.

In December 2018, the court’s special first division cleared Revilla of plunder but convicted his legislative officer, Richard Cambe, as well as Napoles.

On Jan. 19 this year, the fifth division acquitted Estrada of plunder but convicted him of the less serious offenses of direct and indirect bribery.

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Both Revilla and Estrada are back in the Senate after being reelected in the 2019 and 2022 polls, respectively. INQ

TAGS: Juan Ponce Enrile, pork barrel scam, Sandiganbayan

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