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Justices fine unprepared Napoles prosecutors

/ 06:35 AM September 12, 2015

Sandiganbayan justices on Friday fined government prosecutors P1,000 for coming unprepared to the pretrial of the plunder case against pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and coaccused Jessica Reyes, the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

The antigraft court’s Third Division had granted Enrile a second postponement pending the Supreme Court’s final decision on his petition to be given the details of the accusations against him. But the court would have proceeded with the pretrial of Napoles and Reyes if not for the fact that prosecutors did not bring their list of witnesses and evidence to be presented at the trial.

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The pretrial was reset to Oct. 27.

State Prosecutor Edwin Gomez admitted they had not yet submitted their pretrial brief, infuriating the justices.

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Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Tang, who chairs the Third Division, said the prosecution had no reason not to submit their brief, citing that Napoles’ lawyers had submitted theirs.

Tang imposed a P1,000 fine on the prosecution panel. Associate Justice Samuel Martires said that if he had his way, he would have fined the government panel P10,000.

The Supreme Court last month granted Enrile’s petition for a bill of particulars on his plunder case, and ordered the Ombudsman to provide the 94-year-old senator with details of the charges.

The order was put on hold last week after the Ombudsman filed a motion for reconsideration.

Enrile wanted the Ombudsman to provide the names, dates and places relevant to the alleged delivery of the P172.8 million he supposedly amassed by diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus nongovernment organizations controlled by Napoles.

During the hearing on Friday, the lawyers of Reyes and Napoles also asked the Sandiganbayan to postpone their pretrial saying Enrile’s pending request for particulars affected their case.

But the court denied their request, saying they did not ask for the particulars of their case.

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Enrile, Reyes and Napoles were present at the hearing but sat apart from each another.

Enrile, who was granted bail last month by the Supreme Court, told reporters outside the courtroom he was prepared for his trial “like a fish in the sea.”

“It’s like throwing a fish in the sea. If you’re a fish, you can swim in the ocean. I’ve been trained as a lawyer, a trial lawyer, an all-around lawyer. I’m not a half-baked lawyer,” he said.

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TAGS: Janet Lim Napoles, Jessica Reyes, Juan Ponce Enrile, Plunder, Sandiganbayan, Supreme Court
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