Court enters not guilty plea for Enrile on plunder
MANILA, Philippines–Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile on Friday refused to enter a plea to allegations that he plundered over P172 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
The 90-year-old senator was arraigned after the Sandiganbayan third division denied his request to defer his arraignment.
The Sandiganbayan denied the motion saying it was the same issues raised in their motion to stop the issuance of a warrant of arrest which was also junked. Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said during the hearing that what the defense is asking can be answered the during trial.
In their motion for Bill of Particulars, they asked the anti-graft court to order the prosecution to clarify the following:
* 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’…”
They also asked that they be clarified of the following:
* What was ‘repeatedly’ received? If amounts of money, the amount and if on several occassions, 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;
* The law indicating a portion of Enrile’s PDAF and amount per year;* In describing the said projects as fictitious, what is the basis?
* How Enrile took advantage of his position and why?
“All these details must be included in the Information (charge sheet)…The important part of the Information is the payment of P172 million. Will you kindly point which of the thousands of documents show that the accused (Enrile) accepted P172 million?” Enrile’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza asked.
“(But) the prosecutors stayed mute. Perhaps they do not know (because) if they do, why keep the details from us,” Mendoza asked.
Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Samuel Martires asked the prosecutors “Are you going to stay silent?”
The prosecutors said what Enrile’s camp is looking for is already attached in the Information.”What the defese is looking for is appended in the Information. There is no concealment. If only the defense will read,” the prosecutors said.
“Why can’t the prosecutor tell us now? Looking for the material facts is not our responsibility,” Mendoza said.
But the anti-graft court stood pat in its ruling as it denied the motion for reconsideration raised by Mendoza during the hearing.
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