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Enrile’s bid to dismiss plunder case opposed

/ 01:12 AM October 26, 2016
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Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

State prosecutors have opposed former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s bid to dismiss his plunder case for vagueness, saying this move was an attempt to derail his trial.

Enrile had filed a motion on Sept. 29 to quash the charge sheet despite what prosecutors said was their compliance with a Supreme Court (SC) order five months earlier to provide him with a bill of particulars that specified the allegations against him.

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Responding to Enrile’s motion, prosecutors filed an opposition on Oct. 19, telling the Sandiganbayan Third Division the former senator’s move was part of a “strategy of constantly inundating this Honorable Court with groundless and unmeritorious motion [sic] that do nothing but delay his trial.”

The prosecutors had complied with the SC directive, but Enrile’s lawyers said they only made deficient and vague accusations of plunder and did not specify how the former senator was able to enrich himself out of proceeds from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Enrile is accused of receiving P172.8 million in kickbacks from his pork barrel funds. He also faces 15 counts of graft for the alleged misuse of his PDAF allocations.

Enrile claimed that prosecutors failed to show the “series of overt criminal acts” he allegedly committed, as well as the particulars of when and how he received the kickbacks, and the amounts involved.

They also cited Enrile’s comment that he “now understands, and his plea must be accordingly be understood [sic], that the allegations of the information accusing him of the offense of plunder are as itemized or detailed in the bill of particulars.”

The prosecutors said a court directive ordering the submission of a bill of particulars acknowledges the validity of the charge sheet, while vague terms only needed to be clarified. They quoted the SC’s ruling, which said a bill of particulars “presupposes a valid Information, one that presents all the elements of the crime charged, albeit under vague terms.”

Enrile cannot now take back his admission that the plunder charge was valid, they said.

“Necessarily, both accused Enrile and the Supreme Court were operating on the presupposition that the Information in this case is valid; otherwise, a bill of particulars would not have been apropos,” the prosecutors said in their opposition. “Accused Enrile… cannot and should not now be allowed to question the validity of the Information.”

The prosecutors also dismissed Enrile’s “ululations” regarding the bill of particulars, saying a case information only needed to state the “ultimate facts that would establish the commission of the crime,” not the underlying details that should be presented during the trial.

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Enrile was one of the three former opposition senators charged with plunder in connection with the PDAF scam. The lawmakers’ pork barrel funds were allegedly diverted to nongovernment organizations controlled by alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

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TAGS: Philippine news updates, plunder case, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
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