ENRILE ASKS SANDIGANBAYAN TO ALLOW HIM BAIL

JUNE 13 --Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile asked the Sandiganbayan to allow him to post bail with or without probable cause because he claims not to be a flight risk as he is already 90 years old. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Sandiganbayan to still allow him to post bail due even if probable is found over cases against him in relation to the Priority Assistance and Development Fund (PDAF) scam since he is not a flight risk being already 90 years old. In his Omnibus motion filed through his lawyers, the senator and former senate president asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to still allow him bail whether there is probable cause or not. Enrile’s lawyers said that the court should allow the Senator “to post bail at this time, regardless of evidence against him, in order for him to likewise continue discharging his duties as a duly-elected senator.” Pointing out that “Enrile is not a flight risk,” the lawyers explained that the senator is “already 90 years old, with poor and frail physical condition requiring constant medical attention.”  Also, the lawyers noted that “Enrile’s official and social reputation and stature would make the probability of him not appearing during trial as very remote, if not close to zero.”  Enrile explained to the Sandiganbayan that his relation participation to the ghost projects of pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was “merely to recommend the projects to be funded under the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) appropriation.” The lawyers pointed out that the prosecution’s theory that he had control in the selection of projects and in the release of the disbursements of funds is “without any basis in law or in factual evidence.” THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Estrada asks Sandiganbayan to dismiss his case

JUNE 13 --Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada has sought before the Sandiganbayan the dismissal of the plunder charges against him in relation to the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. Estrada asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to make a determination that there is no probable cause to charge him of plunder and dismiss the case against him. The Senator has been charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for plunder along with his deuty chief of staff Pauline Labayen and pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and her associate John Raymund de Asis. Estrada and his co-respondents were accused for having amassed at least P183,793,750 from 2004 to 2012 from kickbacks and commissions from the funding of Napoles ghost projects using the Senator’s PDAF. In his motion, Estrada’s lawyers said that “there is no proof that Senator Estrada received, amassed, accumulated or acquired a single centavo out of hsi PDAF allocation through a combination or series of overt of criminal acts.” “The subject funds were, in fact and in law, released by the Department of Budget and Management directly to the Implementing Agencies, and from the implementing agencies to the local government units or the NGOs (non-government units),” the lawyers stated. “It is not disputed that Senator Estrada never had control or custody of a single centavos of the funds,” they added. Apart from Estrada, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. also asked the dismissal of the plunder charges against him. On the other hand, since plunder is a non-bailable offense, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Sandiganbayan to still allow him to post bail due even if probable is found over the plunder charges against him due to his old age. In his Omnibus motion filed through his lawyers, Enrile asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to still allow him bail whether there is probable cause or not. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Tagle blasts corruption; 'Those who steal people’s money as “ang tapang ng apog.”'

JUNE 15 --Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday took a swipe at corruption, describing those who steal people’s money as “ang tapang ng apog.” Tagle gave the scathing remark at the “Good Governance Forum” at the San Vicente de Paul Parish in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, earning a deafening applause from the audience. “Yang mga nagnanakaw ng pera ng bayan ang lakas ng loob n’yo. (Those who steal from the country’s coffers have lots of guts.) Ang tapang ng apog. Very brave,” Tagle said. Philippine bishops had earlier challenged the laity to choose to be brave. But Tagle said this is not the kind of bravery that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is asking from the laity in this Year of the Laity. The Manila archbishop was referring to some personalities who have the courage to steal people’s money. BE BRAVE FOR GOOD “Hindi ganyang uri ng tapang ang hinihingi sa atin… Gamitin ang katapangan sa pagiging mabuti,” said Tagle. (That is not the kind of bravery that is being asked of us…we should use courage in being good.) “Kung bakit naman kung kelan tayo tinatawag na maging maka-Diyos, naduduwag. Kapag tinatawag maging makabuhay, naduduwag. Kapag tinatawag maging makatao, makabayan, makakalikasan, naduduwag. Pero para sa kalokohan pag ka tapang-tapang at very creative. Lahat nagagawan ng paraan para sa kasamaan,” he added. (Why is it that when we are called to be pro-God, -life, -country, and -environment we become coward but when it comes to being mischievous, we are not only brave but very creative as well?) Cardinal Tagle said the country is thirsting for good governance and this is true for the whole world. READ MORE...

ALSO: No persecution – Aquino; ‘Pork’ cases about rule of law, not politics

JUNE 12 --President Aquino led the nation’s celebration of the 116th Independence Day anniversary yesterday, fighting off allegations that he has persecuted his political opponents involved in the “pork barrel” scam and defending his administration for having adhered to the rule of law and protected civil liberties. At the Independence rites held in Naga City, Camarines Sur, the tone of Aquino’s speech turned to politics, and then some. “We are all well aware of what is happening at present: Several prominent personalities have been charged by the Ombudsman on the issue of the plunder of the PDAF. Their response to the accusation: We are being singled out for political reasons,” the President said in Filipino. “We followed the correct process: An investigation was initiated; evidence was and continues to be collected, which ultimately led to the filing of cases,” said Aquino. The President’s comments came after two actor-turned-senators facing plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam have accused his administration of targeting the political opposition in the fund inquiry. Senator Jinggoy Estrada has criticized the Aquino government for its “selective investigation” of the pork barrel scam as he maintained his innocence of the plunder and graft charges. READ MORE...

ALSO: I’m a better senator than PNoy – Revilla

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who may be facing arrest anytime now for plunder, advised President Benigno Aquino 3rd to tell it like it is in criticizing other people, especially his perceived political enemies who are “better public servants than him.” Revilla made the statement over the weekend, adding that the President should not belittle politicians who happen to be actors but who, he pointed out, are better than Aquino at serving the people. Revilla was reacting to the President’s Independence Day speech where he said the country does not need politicians who are good only at reading scripts, dancing or singing. “The President should think first before he opens his mouth or, better, he should directly identify the person he is criticizing,” Revilla said. The senator said the President’s bias against entertainers in politics only brings out the fact that his performance as senator tops that of then-senator Aquino. He, however, admitted that the President’s educational background is better than his. Aquino was elected senator in 2007 after serving three consecutive terms as representative of the second district of Tarlac. He placed 6th in the 2007 senatorial race. The senator maintained that the statement of Aquino was uncalled for, given that among those who helped him win the 2010 presidential race were show business people, including his sister Kris. Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also over the weekend petitioned the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the plunder complaint against him, and said the Ombudsman gravely erred in finding probable cause against him. READ MORE...

ALSO: Most justices not in favor of special courts  

Most Sandiganbayan justices are not in favor of creating special divisions to handle plunder and graft cases in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam. Sources told The STAR that Sandiganbayan justices held a meeting on Thursday to discuss, among other things, the creation of special courts, which the Supreme Court had asked them to comment on. Sandiganbayan justices prefer to handle PDAF cases in the same manner as other cases, sources said. The cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada and their co-accused will be raffled today. The 11 a.m. raffle will determine which of four Sandiganbayan divisions will handle the cases, after the Fourth Division chaired by Associate Justice Gregory Ong inhibited. Revilla and Estrada have filed motions for judicial determination of probable cause and other pleadings. One division is enough -Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also believes there is no need to create special divisions at the Sandiganbayan to try and hear the plunder case filed against Revilla, Enrile and his son, saying a regular division would be enough to try the cases. READ MORE...


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Enrile asks Sandiganbayan to allow him bail


Juan Ponce Enrile, (File photo Manila Bulletin)

MANILA, JUNE 13, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Jeffrey Damicog - Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile asked the Sandiganbayan to allow him to post bail with or without probable cause because he claims not to be a flight risk as he is already 90 years old.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Sandiganbayan to still allow him to post bail due even if probable is found over cases against him in relation to the Priority Assistance and Development Fund (PDAF) scam since he is not a flight risk being already 90 years old.

In his Omnibus motion filed through his lawyers, the senator and former senate president asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to still allow him bail whether there is probable cause or not.

Enrile’s lawyers said that the court should allow the Senator “to post bail at this time, regardless of evidence against him, in order for him to likewise continue discharging his duties as a duly-elected senator.”

Pointing out that “Enrile is not a flight risk,” the lawyers explained that the senator is “already 90 years old, with poor and frail physical condition requiring constant medical attention.”

Also, the lawyers noted that “Enrile’s official and social reputation and stature would make the probability of him not appearing during trial as very remote, if not close to zero.”

Enrile explained to the Sandiganbayan that his relation participation to the ghost projects of pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was “merely to recommend the projects to be funded under the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) appropriation.”

The lawyers pointed out that the prosecution’s theory that he had control in the selection of projects and in the release of the disbursements of funds is “without any basis in law or in factual evidence.”

Estrada asks Sandiganbayan to dismiss his case by Jeffrey Damicog
June 14, 2014 MANILA BULLETIN

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada has sought before the Sandiganbayan the dismissal of the plunder charges against him in relation to the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Estrada asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to make a determination that there is no probable cause to charge him of plunder and dismiss the case against him.

The Senator has been charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for plunder along with his deuty chief of staff Pauline Labayen and pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and her associate John Raymund de Asis.

Estrada and his co-respondents were accused for having amassed at least P183,793,750 from 2004 to 2012 from kickbacks and commissions from the funding of Napoles ghost projects using the Senator’s PDAF.

In his motion, Estrada’s lawyers said that “there is no proof that Senator Estrada received, amassed, accumulated or acquired a single centavo out of hsi PDAF allocation through a combination or series of overt of criminal acts.”

“The subject funds were, in fact and in law, released by the Department of Budget and Management directly to the Implementing Agencies, and from the implementing agencies to the local government units or the NGOs (non-government units),” the lawyers stated.

“It is not disputed that Senator Estrada never had control or custody of a single centavos of the funds,” they added.

Apart from Estrada, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. also asked the dismissal of the plunder charges against him.

On the other hand, since plunder is a non-bailable offense, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has asked the Sandiganbayan to still allow him to post bail due even if probable is found over the plunder charges against him due to his old age.

In his Omnibus motion filed through his lawyers, Enrile asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to still allow him bail whether there is probable cause or not.

Tagle blasts corruption by Leslie Ann Aquino June 14, 2014 MANILA BULLETIN

Palace official says 3 senators, other ‘pork’ accused innocent until proven guilty



Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday took a swipe at corruption, describing those who steal people’s money as “ang tapang ng apog.”

Tagle gave the scathing remark at the “Good Governance Forum” at the San Vicente de Paul Parish in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, earning a deafening applause from the audience.

“Yang mga nagnanakaw ng pera ng bayan ang lakas ng loob n’yo. (Those who steal from the country’s coffers have lots of guts.) Ang tapang ng apog. Very brave,” Tagle said.

Philippine bishops had earlier challenged the laity to choose to be brave.

But Tagle said this is not the kind of bravery that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is asking from the laity in this Year of the Laity. The Manila archbishop was referring to some personalities who have the courage to steal people’s money.

BE BRAVE FOR GOOD

“Hindi ganyang uri ng tapang ang hinihingi sa atin… Gamitin ang katapangan sa pagiging mabuti,” said Tagle. (That is not the kind of bravery that is being asked of us…we should use courage in being good.)

“Kung bakit naman kung kelan tayo tinatawag na maging maka-Diyos, naduduwag. Kapag tinatawag maging makabuhay, naduduwag. Kapag tinatawag maging makatao, makabayan, makakalikasan, naduduwag. Pero para sa kalokohan pag ka tapang-tapang at very creative. Lahat nagagawan ng paraan para sa kasamaan,” he added. (Why is it that when we are called to be pro-God, -life, -country, and -environment we become coward but when it comes to being mischievous, we are not only brave but very creative as well?)

Cardinal Tagle said the country is thirsting for good governance and this is true for the whole world.

“Ang good governance ay pangangailangan kahit kahilan, kahit saan. Pero sa panahon natin ngayon uhaw na uhaw buong mundo sa good governance,” he told the audience at the forum organized by the Diocese of Novaliches in line with the Church’s commitment to social justice for “a better Philippines” in preparation for the 2016 elections. (Good governance is needed anytime anywhere. In our time today, the whole world is yearning for good governance.)

Good governance, Tagle said, is needed to restore the people’s trust in their fellowmen and institutions.

“People, individuals, and nations get paralyzed when trust is violated,” he said.

“Ito kailangan ng buong Pilipinas at ng buong daigdig (This is what the Philippines and the world need) so be trustworthy and help restore trust in the world,” Tagle added.

‘INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY’

In Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte that Senate Minority Leader Juna Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., as well as suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and other personalities facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “are innocent until proven guilty.”

Valte was reacting to a statement made by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. that the three senators may still run for public office in the 2016 polls “unless there is final conviction.”

That is consistent with the constitutional provision that they are innocent until proven guilty. So the filing of the cases is only the next step. There is no conviction yet,” she said.

Valte also acknowledged that the arrest of the personalities linked to the pork barrel scam may take some time owing to the review of “voluminous documents” submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman as evidence.

She said it will not be surprising that the review of the evidence to determine probable cause may take some time “considering the sheer volume of the documents” submitted.

She also said it is up to the anti-graft court to decide on Enrile’s petition for bail.

Meanwhile, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., chairman of the House Games and Amusements Committee and vice chairman of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad cannot be behind the alleged stonewalling of the Commission on Audit’s (COA) three-year special audit on the much-maligned “pork barrel.”

Barzaga said Abad was not even the budget secretary from 2007 to 2009 – the coverage of the CoA’s special audit report.

“How can you blame the secretary for not having access to pertinent documents from a period when he was not the head of the DBM? It does not constitute any offense,” the senior congressman said in a statement directed at Aquino administration critics. (With a report from Ellson A. Quismorio)

No persecution – Aquino; ‘Pork’ cases about rule of law, not politics by Genalyn Kabiling June 12, 2014 (updated) MANILA BULLETIN


INDEPENDENCE AND POLITICS — President Aquino takes his critics to the deep end of issues on rule of law and civil liberties in his speech at yesterday’s 116th Independence Day anniversary rites at Plaza Quince Martires in Naga City, Camarines Sur, where he began the program by paying tribute to the 15 martyrs of Bicol. Looking on are (seated from left) Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Ma. Leonor Robredo, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno. (Malacañang Photo Bureau)

President Aquino led the nation’s celebration of the 116th Independence Day anniversary yesterday, fighting off allegations that he has persecuted his political opponents involved in the “pork barrel” scam and defending his administration for having adhered to the rule of law and protected civil liberties.

At the Independence rites held in Naga City, Camarines Sur, the tone of Aquino’s speech turned to politics, and then some.

“We are all well aware of what is happening at present: Several prominent personalities have been charged by the Ombudsman on the issue of the plunder of the PDAF. Their response to the accusation: We are being singled out for political reasons,” the President said in Filipino.

“We followed the correct process: An investigation was initiated; evidence was and continues to be collected, which ultimately led to the filing of cases,” said Aquino.

The President’s comments came after two actor-turned-senators facing plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam have accused his administration of targeting the political opposition in the fund inquiry.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada has criticized the Aquino government for its “selective investigation” of the pork barrel scam as he maintained his innocence of the plunder and graft charges.

Earlier, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. called on the President to end the political mudslinging and lead the country with love, not hatred. Revilla, who prepared a song after his privilege speech at the Senate, also denied allegations against him.

However, the President asserted that he has learned “to fight for equality to break the cycle of vicious injustice” following his family’s difficult struggles during the martial law regime. Aquino recalled that his father, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was a victim of injustice by the dictator.

In a court where the judges, the lawyers, and the witnesses themselves were men of Mr. Marcos — the very person who filed the case against my father—the dictatorship forcefully tipped the scales of justice,” Aquino said. “In short, Mr. Marcos was accuser, judge, and executor. Without doubt: the rod of justice was bended.”

Unlike the fallen dictator who convicted his father, the late Sen. Aquino Jr., without due process, the President argued that the filing of cases against persons involved in the fund misuse was not railroaded and was based on evidence, not political motives.

Now that he is in power, Aquino vowed to do everything he can to accord justice “not to a select few but the entire nation.”

“We could have rushed this from the onset, bringing to court accusations without sufficient proof — if our intention was to simply damage the reputation of the candidates accused. However, as you have witnessed, we chose to pursue the truth by using the proper system. And now, after all that we have done, we are the ones being called out for politicking? I leave it to you now to choose who is telling the truth,” Aquino said.

Before harping on politics, the President paid tribute to the brave Filipinos who fought for the country’s independence from the Spanish colonial rule and the nation to draw inspiration from them “who fought for what was right and what was just.”

Today, Aquino said the heroes who uphold freedom continue to emerge, citing the marines stationed at Ayungin Shoal, the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, and the millions of people who gathered in EDSA.

ON THE BINAY FRONT

Some 380 kilometers north of Naga City, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay led the Independence Day rites in Manila, fighting his own battle against critics in silence.

Binay kept mum about Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice’s call for him to resign from the Cabinet, as he declined to talk about politics while standing side-by-side with former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

“It’s Independence Day, so let’s devote some time for it. Let’s have a timeout from politics,” he said in Filipino, setting aside newsmen’s questions about Erice’s statement.

Estrada also staved off from talking politics and said that “crab mentality” is behind the criticism of Binay, who serves as Aquino’s adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns and chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Binay led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the monument of national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, at Luneta with Estrada, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. and other government officials.

CLEANSING PROCESS – DRILON

Speaking elsewhere, Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the public to maintain faith in the government despite controversies rocking the country’s democratic institutions because truth and justice will eventually cleanse and strengthen them.

“Let us be more discerning. Let us not allow some quarters to dishonor our institutions, because the lack of respect for our democratic institutions only dishonor the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who valiantly fought the foreign colonizers to liberate our country, thus giving birth to Asia’s first democracy,” Drilon said.

He said it is imperative for the people to know how to separate the institution from the officials or the members of the institution embroiled in controversies, particularly in the pork barrel fund scam.

“I believe that the relentless search for the truth and justice is a cleansing process that will strengthen this institution as a part of our government,” he said.

SERENO IN KAWIT

At the Aguinaldo House in Kawit, Cavite, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno extolled on the patriotism and greatness of the country’s forefather heroes and called on everyone to continue their legacies by uniting and doing what is best for the country and the people in terms of development and progress.

Speaking from the Aguinaldo Shrine veranda where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo hoisted the flag and declared our Independence in 1898, Sereno called on the citizens to uphold the rule of law in any endeavor and adhere to the Constitution in the quest for justice and equity.

The ceremonies led by the first-ever lady Chief Magistrate at the 169-year-old shrine were simple and brief. Among those present were descendants of Gen. Aguinaldo, including Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya and Kawit Mayor Reynaldo Aguinaldo, Governor Jonvic Remulla, Cavite 7th District Rep. Bambol Tolentino and Third District Rep. Alex Advincula, Imus Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, and some other local officials of the province.

TOLENTINO AT BARASOIN

At the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Bulacan, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino led the Freedom Day celebration and touched on the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

He said that he was reviewing the different constitutions of the Philippines from the Malolos Constitution to the present and found no mention of the territorial waters of the country.

But he surmised that the Malolos Constitution is right all the way because the territorial sovereignty of this nation is nestling right in the very hearts of every Filipinos that no foreigners can take away.

Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite was later “legalized” through the ratification of the Malolos Constitution inside the historic Barasoain Church on September 15, 1898.

Tolentino led the flag-raising ceremony and the laying of the wreath before the statue of Aguinaldo with Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad, Engr. Candido Castro, of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and other officials. (With reports from JC Bello Ruiz, Hannah L. Torregoza, Anthony Giron, and Freddie C. Velez)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

I’m a better senator than PNoy – Revilla June 15, 2014 10:26 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who may be facing arrest anytime now for plunder, advised President Benigno Aquino 3rd to tell it like it is in criticizing other people, especially his perceived political enemies who are “better public servants than him.”

Revilla made the statement over the weekend, adding that the President should not belittle politicians who happen to be actors but who, he pointed out, are better than Aquino at serving the people.

Revilla was reacting to the President’s Independence Day speech where he said the country does not need politicians who are good only at reading scripts, dancing or singing.

“The President should think first before he opens his mouth or, better, he should directly identify the person he is criticizing,” Revilla said.

The senator said the President’s bias against entertainers in politics only brings out the fact that his performance as senator tops that of then-senator Aquino.

He, however, admitted that the President’s educational background is better than his.

Aquino was elected senator in 2007 after serving three consecutive terms as representative of the second district of Tarlac. He placed 6th in the 2007 senatorial race.

The senator maintained that the statement of Aquino was uncalled for, given that among those who helped him win the 2010 presidential race were show business people, including his sister Kris.

Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also over the weekend petitioned the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the plunder complaint against him, and said the Ombudsman gravely erred in finding probable cause against him.

Estrada, Revilla and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile are charged with plunder for allegedly channeling their priority development assistance fund to bogus projects of some non-government organizations (NGOs).

In a 38-page document submitted to the court’s Fifth Division, Estrada, through his lawyers, argued that there was neither evidence nor proof of conspiracy that he amassed ill-gotten wealth.

“Moreover, there was no indication that Pauline Labayen received, directly or indirectly, any monies or funds from [Janet Lim] Napoles or the NGOs she supposedly owns,” he said.

Estrada allegedly conspired with alleged pork barrel scam brains Napoles and John Raymund de Asis and gained P183 million in kickbacks through his Labayen, his former deputy chief of staff.

“The subject funds were, in fact and in law, released by the Department of Budget and Management directly to the Implementing Agencies [IAs], and from the implementing agencies to the local government units or the NGOs. It is not disputed that Sen. Estrada never had control or custody of a single centavo of the funds,” the defense said.

Estrada’s lawyers further argued that his right to due process was violated, saying the testimonies of Ruby Tuason, Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Gregoria Buenaventura and Alexis Sevidal are inadmissible because the Ombudsman, in ruling probable cause, did not give the senator a chance to refute their allegations against him.

Tuason had testified she was a go-between for Napoles and the senators and that she personally delivered money to Estrada.

But the lawyers said Tuason and Cunanan’s testimonies were “unsubstantial” and “untrustworthy” because they were allegedly given in exchange for immunity and uncorroborated.

Revilla and Enrile earlier filed motions seeking the dismissal of the plunder case and deferment or suspension of proceedings, respectively. The 90-year-old Enrile also asked that he be granted bail, citing his “poor” and “frail” condition.

FROM PHILSTAR

Most justices not in favor of special courts By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am 1 85 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Most Sandiganbayan justices are not in favor of creating special divisions to handle plunder and graft cases in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam.

Sources told The STAR that Sandiganbayan justices held a meeting on Thursday to discuss, among other things, the creation of special courts, which the Supreme Court had asked them to comment on.

Sandiganbayan justices prefer to handle PDAF cases in the same manner as other cases, sources said.

The cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada and their co-accused will be raffled today.

The 11 a.m. raffle will determine which of four Sandiganbayan divisions will handle the cases, after the Fourth Division chaired by Associate Justice Gregory Ong inhibited.

Revilla and Estrada have filed motions for judicial determination of probable cause and other pleadings.

One division is enough

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also believes there is no need to create special divisions at the Sandiganbayan to try and hear the plunder case filed against Revilla, Enrile and his son, saying a regular division would be enough to try the cases.

“Is that necessary? I think one division is enough,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the Independence Day celebration in Rizal Park.

Estrada claimed the special division created to hear the plunder case filed against him in 2001 was designed to convict him.

He maintained that he did not steal a single centavo from government coffers and the apology made by the late former President Corazon Aquino only proved that he is innocent of the charges.

He said he is also confident that his son could defend himself in court.

House arrest for Enrile

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora supports the proposal of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for the Sandiganbayan to put Enrile under house arrest if it orders the detention of those charged with plunder in the pork barrel scam.

“I favor the proposal of the Speaker. I think that if you’re 90, 80 or 70 years old, you deserve some consideration from the courts. But then again, that is really for the courts to decide,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.

“I don’t think a 90-year-old individual like Senator Enrile should go through the kind of rigorous detention that we prescribe in our jails, which are not the best in the world. It’s too late in the day, and I’m not sure that you are making a real lesson to be learned,” he said.

“That is my personal view. I think if you live until 90, perhaps you should be given a little consideration – just for that,” he added.

Some colleagues of Zamora in the minority did not agree with him.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said as a matter of principle, the law should be applied to all.

“It should be applied to Senator Enrile, Senator Estrada, Senator Revilla, and others charged with plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam. There should be no special treatment for anyone,” he said.

Enrile has said he was ready to go to jail if the anti-graft court orders their arrest. The right to bail is not available in plunder cases.

Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is facing a plunder charge, is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. The Sandiganbayan has rejected her bail petition.

Earlier, Rep. Rodolfo Albano III also expressed support for Belmonte’s proposal for house arrest for Enrile.

“Senator Enrile is 90 years old. His detention in an ordinary cell with other detainees would certainly be an ordeal that he could not withstand at his advanced age. It will definitely affect his health,” Albano said.

“Let us keep Senator Enrile healthy in mind, body and spirit, and allow the full course of the law to run unimpeded. Let us give Senator Enrile a chance to defend himself before the court and the Filipino people without compromising or jeopardizing his health,” he said.

He pointed out that if alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles is being held at a comfortable bungalow inside a police camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, there is more reason to allow Enrile to be placed under house arrest.

“If they are talking of special treatment, that is what Napoles is getting,” he added.

No schedule

Meanwhile, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has not set any schedule for the resumption of its investigation into the pork barrel scam and the Malampaya Fund misuse.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said he is still studying the 31,742-page files – approximately four gigabytes – taken from the hard drive of pork fund whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

“We are still collating... (the evidence). We should study. We should do our homework before we make any hearings,” he said.

He said the committee is also looking into the DVD provided by the National Bureau Investigation on the deleted files from Luy’s hard drive.

He said he needs more time to read the materials before setting the next public hearing.

Some senators are urging the Blue Ribbon to resume hearings to get the testimony of Napoles again. Some senators also want to grill Luy.

Senator Francis Escudero has repeatedly urged the committee to look into the rest of the 82 NGOs involved in pork barrel fund misuse. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Jess Diaz, Christina Mendez


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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