SANDIGANBAYAN ISSUED 'HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER' VS ENRILE, GIGI REYES

JUNE 17  -The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday issued a hold departure order against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam. The HDO, issued by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang of the Third Division, directs the Bureau of Immigration not to allow the Senate Minority Leader to leave the country without prior clearance from the anti-graft court. Aside from Enrile, the HDO also covers his former chief of staff Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes and businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam. Napoles is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the illegal detention case before the Makati City court. The Sandiganbayan also issued an HDO against the other co-accused in the pork barrel cases, Ronald John Lim and John Raymund de Asis. Earlier today, the court's First Division issued an HDO against Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and his chief of staff Richard Cambe. Also covered by the HDO issued by the First Division were Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Marivic Jover. Napoles and her brother Raymond Lim are also on the First Division's HDO list....

ALSO: Sandiganbayan issues HDO vs Bong, others in 'pork' case

JUNE 17  -The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday ordered the Bureau off Immigration to prevent Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and several others from leaving the country. The anti-graft court's First Division issued the hold departure order (HDO), signed by chairperson Efren dela Cruz, against the senator charged with plunder and graft along with other personalities tagged in the pork barrel fund scam. Also covered by the HDO are Revilla's former chief of staff Richard Cambe, Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Marivic Jover. Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and her brother Raymond Lim are also on the HDO list. Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the illegal detention case filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy. The HDO directs the Bureau of Immigration to prevent the personalities on the list from leaving the country without the permission of the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division had also issued an HDO against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is also charged with plunder along with Revilla and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile and Napoles have asked the anti-graft court not to issue warrants for their arrest. The senator had also questioned the Office of the Ombudsman's decision, finding probable cause to pursue the plunder complaint filed by the Department of Justice against him. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Bong Revilla's bags packed; ready for jail  

JUNE 17  --"All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go." Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is now singing to the popular tune of John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” not to flee abroad but to go to jail once the Sandiganbayan orders his arrest for the plunder charges filed against him in connection to the pork barrel scam. From his own composition “Salamat, Kaibigan”, Revilla is singing a different tune in anticipation of the issuance of warrants of arrest by the Sandiganbayan. Revilla said he is expecting the issuance of the arrest warrant after the Sandiganbayan issued the hold departure order against him. “I will face this. As I said before, I will not ran away from all these,” Revilla said, adding that he is confident of a fair trial from the Sandiganbayan. Revilla said he has been doing rounds in barangays recently in a bid to thank his supporters, who have remained loyal, contrary to claims of the Palace that 99 percent of the people do not believe him. Revilla, who went to his Senate office on Tuesday despite the congressional recess, said he is ready to go to jail anytime. He added that he is leaving it up to his legal team on issues about his place of detention, although the Philippine National Police (PNP) has announced that the pork barrel scam suspects will be detained at the PNP Custodial Center. “Sa akin pinapaubaya ko na sa legal team pero sa akin, kahit saan okay lang ako. Kung gusto nila akong ibartolina okay lang basta ready na ako,” Revilla said. He said he has packed his belongings, which have been placed in his vehicle so he would be ready once arrested. Revilla said he is bringing a bible and some books to read in jail. READ MORE...

ALSO: Revilla spends first Sunday in jail reading Bible, sweeping floor

As the beleaguered Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. spent his first Sunday in detention, he drew a huge boost of support from the Senior himself. Ramon Revilla Sr., the patriarch of the Revilla clan, paid a visit to his son who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame. Revilla was ordered detained for his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. He was charged with plunder for allegedly receiving hundreds of millions of pesos in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who skimmed the money from government allocations for the poor. The actor-turned politician denied any role in the scam. Plunder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is non-bailable. Family members accompanied Revilla Sr., while the senator’s son Bacoor City Mayor Strike Revilla aided the former senator on a wheelchair. As his first Sunday in detention, Revilla Jr. was treated to a morning Bible study with his family and close friends while they feasted during lunch, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office Chief, said. Congresswoman Lani Mercado brought with her two boxes of cakes and other food stuffs while friend Jimmy Santos was the first to visit Revilla. Sons Jolo and Bryan were also present for the pseudo family reunion. Together with his friends and family, Revilla Jr. had a bible study in the morning and ate lunch after. According to Revilla Jr.’s son Bryan, the group ate grilled pork belly, grilled fish, tamarind chicken, and for dessert, leche flan. In a happy and peaceful atmosphere, the senator preferred the grill fish which, as his son said, was his favorite and a little of the grilled pork belly. A healthy man --...READ MORE...

ALSO: Jinggoy prefers house arrest over prison

JUNE  -While he thinks it is impossible, beleaguered Senator Jinggoy Estrada wants to be placed under house arrest instead of being detained in a regular cell or in Camp Crame. In a phone-patch interview on GMA News' "Unang Balita" on Tuesday, Estrada said he will accept the decision of the Sandiganbayan on where the personalities charged in connection with the pork barrel scam will be jailed. "Kung doon kami ilalagay sa Camp Crame, walang problema. Kung sasabihin ng Sandiganbayan na sa regular jail kami kasama ng mga ordinaryong kriminal o nagkasala, wala tayong magagawa," Estrada told GMA News. But if he had it his way, Estrada said he would like to be placed under house detention. "Kahit saan, wala naman tayong karapatan na magdikta kung saan ko gustong makulong. Eh siyempre kung ako masusunod, dito na lang sa bahay, house arrest. Pero imposible yatang mangyari iyon," Estrada said. The senator also denied that he has plans to seek hospital arrest. Last year, Estrada revealed that he was building another house at the posh Wack Wack subdivision in Mandaluyong City for P120 million. Estrada's statements came after the Philippine National Police showed to the media the facilities at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pork jail more comfortable than regular cells

JUNE 17  -There’s no air-conditioning, but there’s a ceiling fan and each room has its own bed, a small kitchen, and toilet and shower. They’re no five-star suites, but the detention cells of the three senators who have been charged with plunder for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam are far more comfortable than the regular crowded, grimy and vermin-infested jails. Members of the media were given a walk-through yesterday inside the facilities at the Custodial Center of Camp Crame, national headquarters of the Philippine National Police, which will serve as temporary detention cells for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. Each of the four newly built detention cells measures about four meters by eight meters, has a ceiling fan and a single bed with foam mattress. The cells also have tiled floors, and the walls are painted cream and the ceiling, white. There is a kitchen sink and a bathroom with enclosed shower. There is also a sliding window with metal grills beside the door, but there is no provision for an air conditioning unit. Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office director, said the facilities were intended for officers of the Headquarters Support Service (HSS) and the Custodial Center. “Although these facilities are bigger than ordinary detention cells, let me point out that these are intended for our officers. But with the development, we had to adjust, convert and make way for the order of the court,” Sindac said. He said the stay of the three senators will be temporary since they will eventually be transferred to another detention facility. READ MORE...

ALSO: 3 senators to yield to PNP

There will be no need for the police to arrest the three senators charged with plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam – when warrants for their arrest are issued – as they are prepared to surrender based on a “gentleman’s agreement” with authorities. Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. had committed to turn themselves in once the Sandiganbayan issues warrants for their arrest for plunder, a non-bailable offense. “We are banking on that. That is a gentleman’s agreement,” Magalong said. Estrada reportedly relayed his intention to surrender to Magalong while Enrile and Revilla voiced theirs to PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima. Magalong did not reveal details on how the PNP and the senators were able to reach an agreement on the surrender. While the CIDG, being the investigating and operating arm of the PNP, is expected to take the lead in the enforcement of any arrest order, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as a separate law enforcement agency is also likely to play a role in carrying out any Sandiganbayan order. “We are prepared and we will follow the regular process,” Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office director, said. He said the PNP would coordinate with the NBI in serving arrest warrants on the accused. “I’m sure that there would be no conflict or overlapping of functions,” he said. Sindac said there would be no need for arresting officers to handcuff the three senators if they voluntarily turn themselves in. He said handcuffs are used to restrain individuals, although it’s usually the arresting officers’ judgment call if there is need for such. READ MORE...


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Sandiganbayan issues HDO vs Enrile, Gigi Reyes


Juan Ponce Enrile & his former chief of staff, lawyer Gigi Reyes (inset),

MANILA, JUNE 23, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Dennis Carcamo - The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday issued a hold departure order against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The HDO, issued by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang of the Third Division, directs the Bureau of Immigration not to allow the Senate Minority Leader to leave the country without prior clearance from the anti-graft court.

Aside from Enrile, the HDO also covers his former chief of staff Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes and businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

Napoles is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the illegal detention case before the Makati City court.

The Sandiganbayan also issued an HDO against the other co-accused in the pork barrel cases, Ronald John Lim and John Raymund de Asis.

Earlier today, the court's First Division issued an HDO against Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and his chief of staff Richard Cambe.

Read: Sandiganbayan issues HDO vs Bong, others in 'pork' case

Also covered by the HDO issued by the First Division were Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Marivic Jover.

Napoles and her brother Raymond Lim are also on the First Division's HDO list.

The Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division had also issued an HDO against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is also charged with plunder along with Revilla and Enrile.

Sandiganbayan issues HDO vs Bong, others in 'pork' case By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated June 17, 2014 - 9:59am


Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday ordered the Bureau off Immigration to prevent Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and several others from leaving the country.

The anti-graft court's First Division issued the hold departure order (HDO), signed by chairperson Efren dela Cruz, against the senator charged with plunder and graft along with other personalities tagged in the pork barrel fund scam.

Also covered by the HDO are Revilla's former chief of staff Richard Cambe, Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Marivic Jover.

Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and her brother Raymond Lim are also on the HDO list.

Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the illegal detention case filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy.

The HDO directs the Bureau of Immigration to prevent the personalities on the list from leaving the country without the permission of the Sandiganbayan.

The Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division had also issued an HDO against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is also charged with plunder along with Revilla and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

Enrile and Napoles have asked the anti-graft court not to issue warrants for their arrest. The senator had also questioned the Office of the Ombudsman's decision, finding probable cause to pursue the plunder complaint filed by the Department of Justice against him. - with Camille Diola

Bong Revilla's bags packed; ready for jail By Christina Mendez (philstar.com) | Updated June 17, 2014 - 5:33pm

MANILA, Philippines - "All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go."

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is now singing to the popular tune of John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” not to flee abroad but to go to jail once the Sandiganbayan orders his arrest for the plunder charges filed against him in connection to the pork barrel scam.

From his own composition “Salamat, Kaibigan”, Revilla is singing a different tune in anticipation of the issuance of warrants of arrest by the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla said he is expecting the issuance of the arrest warrant after the Sandiganbayan issued the hold departure order against him.

“I will face this. As I said before, I will not ran away from all these,” Revilla said, adding that he is confident of a fair trial from the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla said he has been doing rounds in barangays recently in a bid to thank his supporters, who have remained loyal, contrary to claims of the Palace that 99 percent of the people do not believe him.

Revilla, who went to his Senate office on Tuesday despite the congressional recess, said he is ready to go to jail anytime.

He added that he is leaving it up to his legal team on issues about his place of detention, although the Philippine National Police (PNP) has announced that the pork barrel scam suspects will be detained at the PNP Custodial Center.

“Sa akin pinapaubaya ko na sa legal team pero sa akin, kahit saan okay lang ako. Kung gusto nila akong ibartolina okay lang basta ready na ako,” Revilla said.

He said he has packed his belongings, which have been placed in his vehicle so he would be ready once arrested. Revilla said he is bringing a bible and some books to read in jail.

In jest, Revilla said he will just do push-ups everyday to improve his abs and physical stamina. "Eh bawal daw ang computer, no cell phones siguro magpu-push up na lang ako. 'Pag nakita nyo ko mas malaki pa katawan ko sa dating Panday. Dasal. Bibliya. Wag naman sanang ipagbawal yung libro," Revilla said.

Revilla lamented that his family has grown weary and numb over the pork barrel issue.

Anticipating his arrest, Revilla said he is grateful everytime he wakes in the morning for another day that he can still be with his family.

“Kanina kausap ko sila, nag-breakfast kami ng mga anak ko. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘lumiliit na yung mundo ko, so ihanda n'yo na rin yung sarili n’yo at paliit na ng paliit yan hanggang makulong ako.’ Naiintindihan naman nila,” the senator said.

Revilla said he is leaving his fate to God.

The senator gamely posed for souvenir pictures with members of the Senate media and his staff.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Revilla spends first Sunday in jail reading Bible, sweeping floor By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 4:30 pm | Sunday, June 22nd, 2014


Sen. Bong Revilla having his finger print taken at Camp Crame. File photo courtesy of PNP

MANILA, Philippines – As the beleaguered Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. spent his first Sunday in detention, he drew a huge boost of support from the Senior himself.

Ramon Revilla Sr., the patriarch of the Revilla clan, paid a visit to his son who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Revilla was ordered detained for his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. He was charged with plunder for allegedly receiving hundreds of millions of pesos in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who skimmed the money from government allocations for the poor.

The actor-turned politician denied any role in the scam.

Plunder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is non-bailable.

Family members accompanied Revilla Sr., while the senator’s son Bacoor City Mayor Strike Revilla aided the former senator on a wheelchair.

As his first Sunday in detention, Revilla Jr. was treated to a morning Bible study with his family and close friends while they feasted during lunch, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office Chief, said.
Congresswoman Lani Mercado brought with her two boxes of cakes and other food stuffs while friend Jimmy Santos was the first to visit Revilla.

Sons Jolo and Bryan were also present for the pseudo family reunion.

Together with his friends and family, Revilla Jr. had a bible study in the morning and ate lunch after.

According to Revilla Jr.’s son Bryan, the group ate grilled pork belly, grilled fish, tamarind chicken, and for dessert, leche flan.

In a happy and peaceful atmosphere, the senator preferred the grill fish which, as his son said, was his favorite and a little of the grilled pork belly.

A healthy man

Sindac said that Revilla Jr. was in a “fairly good” condition. However, the detained senator had complained of migraines due to the humidity in his cell.
He added that Revilla Jr. went to sleep at 10:30 Saturday evening and experienced migraines at 4 a.m. Sunday early morning.

Doctors and nurses from the PNP Health Service rushed to Revilla’s aid and provided medication.

A single ceiling fan provided relief from the heat as family members pushed for an air cooler and some indoor plants to be put in Revilla Jr.’s cell.

“It still has to undergo court proceedings, which would open tomorrow (Monday),” Sindac said.

Son Bryan said that his father still gets a fair share of exercise in the small cell.

“What he does is sweep the floor and water the ground to lessen the heat,” the young Revilla said.
Visitation

Sindac said that even though visiting hours for Revilla were only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Thursday and Sunday, food from the family can be delivered anytime of the week.

Also, Revilla is only allowed a maximum 30 visitors as it is the capacity of the visitor’s sector of the Custodial Center.

Revilla’s visitors are only allowed to enter the visitor’s sector and are barred from entering the actual detention cell.

According to Bryan, they wish they could have more days, though they are happy with what the PNP has given them.

Special treatment

Sindac said that Revilla is treated properly, and not everything should be considered as “special treatment.”
“There is no special treatment, we treat him with respect. We treat him humanely,” Sindac said. “He is still a sitting senator.”

He added that Revilla’s room is not a detention cell, rather it was supposed to be an officer’s quarters of the PNP Custodial Center.

Camp Crame is undergoing building renovations and the supposed officer’s quarters were hastily transformed into a detention cell to accommodate Revilla.

“This wasn’t designed as a detention cell, this would only be used temporarily,” Sindac said as the Sandiganbayan would decide where to permanently detain Revilla.

He added that steel bars were added to turn the quarters into a makeshift detention cell.

Rat race

Sindac added that they would address the cockroach and rat infestation that plagued Revilla’s quarters.

He inferred that the pests probably came out when the renovation began.

“We will try to do some pesticide work,” Sindac said.

Bryan said that the rats were almost as big as kittens and, with a joking sigh of relief, said that some were already captured.

He was not, however, sure if his father had a hand in baiting the vermin.

FROM PHILSTAR

Jinggoy prefers house arrest over prison (philstar.com) | Updated June 17, 2014 - 12:27pm


Senator Jinggoy Estrada delivers a privilege speech on the last day of session before the Senate goes on a month-long break. Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines — While he thinks it is impossible, beleaguered Senator Jinggoy Estrada wants to be placed under house arrest instead of being detained in a regular cell or in Camp Crame.

In a phone-patch interview on GMA News' "Unang Balita" on Tuesday, Estrada said he will accept the decision of the Sandiganbayan on where the personalities charged in connection with the pork barrel scam will be jailed.

"Kung doon kami ilalagay sa Camp Crame, walang problema. Kung sasabihin ng Sandiganbayan na sa regular jail kami kasama ng mga ordinaryong kriminal o nagkasala, wala tayong magagawa," Estrada told GMA News.

But if he had it his way, Estrada said he would like to be placed under house detention.

"Kahit saan, wala naman tayong karapatan na magdikta kung saan ko gustong makulong. Eh siyempre kung ako masusunod, dito na lang sa bahay, house arrest. Pero imposible yatang mangyari iyon," Estrada said.

The senator also denied that he has plans to seek hospital arrest.

Last year, Estrada revealed that he was building another house at the posh Wack Wack subdivision in Mandaluyong City for P120 million.

Estrada's statements came after the Philippine National Police showed to the media the facilities at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

The facilities could serve as temporary detention cells for Estrada and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., who have been charged with plunder at the Sandiganbayan for allegedly conniving with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in the diversion of their pork barrel funds to bogus foundations.

The STAR reported on Tuesday that the new detention cells are much more comfortable than the regular jails.

Estrada has maintained that he has no plans to escape the country and evade arrest. In a privilege speech at the Senate last week, he also insisted that he is innocent.

He did not announce his resignation but Estrada hinted that he may not attend Senate sessions when Congress reopens in July. -Louis Bacani

Pork jail more comfortable than regular cells By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 17, 2014 - 12:00am


VIP JAIL: The detention unit for each senator at the Camp Crame Custodial Center has a single-sized bed, kitchen sink, ceiling fan and a private bathroom with a handheld shower. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines - There’s no air-conditioning, but there’s a ceiling fan and each room has its own bed, a small kitchen, and toilet and shower.

They’re no five-star suites, but the detention cells of the three senators who have been charged with plunder for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam are far more comfortable than the regular crowded, grimy and vermin-infested jails.

Members of the media were given a walk-through yesterday inside the facilities at the Custodial Center of Camp Crame, national headquarters of the Philippine National Police, which will serve as temporary detention cells for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Each of the four newly built detention cells measures about four meters by eight meters, has a ceiling fan and a single bed with foam mattress.

The cells also have tiled floors, and the walls are painted cream and the ceiling, white.

There is a kitchen sink and a bathroom with enclosed shower.

There is also a sliding window with metal grills beside the door, but there is no provision for an air conditioning unit.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office director, said the facilities were intended for officers of the Headquarters Support Service (HSS) and the Custodial Center.

“Although these facilities are bigger than ordinary detention cells, let me point out that these are intended for our officers. But with the development, we had to adjust, convert and make way for the order of the court,” Sindac said.

He said the stay of the three senators will be temporary since they will eventually be transferred to another detention facility.

Although the three senators are not considered flight risks, Sindac said they have to put grills on the windows in compliance with the standard of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Sindac also showed to members of media the two newly constructed bungalow-type structures that will serve as administrative and processing offices.

“The structure for processing office could be used as visitors’ area,” he said.

A steel gate will be set up between the detention and processing areas to ensure that visitors will not be able to enter the detention facilities.

Reporters observed that four layers of blue gates measuring about 12 feet high each were set up from the main entrance to the detention facilities.

The compound has a fence with barbed wire and is guarded by police officers with high-powered firearms.

“Aside from the tower sentries, there are also ground personnel who will secure the area 24/7. There are at least two CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras installed in the facilities,” said Superintendent Mario Malana, head of the Custodial Center.

In the event the accused in the pork barrel fund scam are detained, they will be allowed to entertain visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except on Friday, which is for conjugal visit.

Malana said the center’s other facilities could also be converted to accommodate 51 other accused in the alleged misuse of the priority development assistance fund of lawmakers or the congressional pork barrel.

Sindac earlier said the PNP Custodial Center could accommodate 130 detainees.

At present, there are only 70 inmates in the center.

Among those detained are Abu Sayyaf Group bomber and financier Khair Mundos, who is wanted both by the Philippine and American governments for his alleged involvement in bombings in Mindanao, and Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Other detainees are police officers implicated in the 2013 Atimonan rubout case led by Superintendent Hansel Marantan, and the group of former policeman Rizal Ali who is accused of killing police general Eduardo Batalla during the Cawa-Cawa siege in Zamboanga City in 1989.

3 senators to yield to PNP By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 19, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - There will be no need for the police to arrest the three senators charged with plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam – when warrants for their arrest are issued – as they are prepared to surrender based on a “gentleman’s agreement” with authorities.

Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. had committed to turn themselves in once the Sandiganbayan issues warrants for their arrest for plunder, a non-bailable offense.

“We are banking on that. That is a gentleman’s agreement,” Magalong said.

Estrada reportedly relayed his intention to surrender to Magalong while Enrile and Revilla voiced theirs to PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima.

Magalong did not reveal details on how the PNP and the senators were able to reach an agreement on the surrender.

While the CIDG, being the investigating and operating arm of the PNP, is expected to take the lead in the enforcement of any arrest order, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as a separate law enforcement agency is also likely to play a role in carrying out any Sandiganbayan order.

“We are prepared and we will follow the regular process,” Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office director, said.

He said the PNP would coordinate with the NBI in serving arrest warrants on the accused. “I’m sure that there would be no conflict or overlapping of functions,” he said.

Sindac said there would be no need for arresting officers to handcuff the three senators if they voluntarily turn themselves in. He said handcuffs are used to restrain individuals, although it’s usually the arresting officers’ judgment call if there is need for such.

“If there is no need for immediate restraint, there will be no need for handcuffs,” he said.

After their surrender, Sindac said the accused would likely be booked at the PNP Multi-Purpose Center, which is big enough to accommodate the possible surge of kibitzers and supporters of the senators.

The booking procedures include taking of fingerprints and mug shots as well as medical examination.

While the procedures would be closed to the media, the PNP would provide official documentation and recording for the sake of transparency.

Special divisions, yes

Meanwhile, one of the accused in the plunder charges is in favor of having special divisions in the Sandiganbayan exclusively handle the cases.

Richard Cambe, a former aide of Revilla, said the Supreme Court should allow the creation of three special divisions in the anti-graft court to hear the cases filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against him and several others and have them resolved “within six months from start of trial.”

Cambe said the special divisions should conduct marathon or daily hearings even beyond office hours. He also said the special courts should limit the number of witnesses to be presented and disallow postponement of hearings.

Cambe voiced his position in compliance with a Supreme Court directive that all parties concerned in the issue comment on the proposed creation of special divisions made by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Morales said the special divisions should “consolidate and hear all cases of a specific group of alleged conspirators.” In making the proposal, Morales cited the “national magnitude of these cases, the complexities of the issues involved, the number of accused and the far-reaching consequences of these cases.”

The SC was supposed to decide on the ombudsman’s proposal last Tuesday but opted to defer action until the submission of comments by all concerned parties. So far only the Sandiganbayan and Cambe have submitted comments to the SC.

The Sandiganbayan earlier said “there is no compelling reason and/or imperative need to create a special division or divisions.”

All magistrates of the anti-graft court led by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said creating special divisions might deprive other pending cases of proper attention. They also said creating special divisions to exclusively handle pork barrel scam cases would stir suspicion that the court is biased against the accused, who include prominent opposition personalities.

Revilla, Enrile and Estrada have been accused of receiving kickbacks for spurious projects bankrolled using their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in connivance with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. PDAF, the official term then for congressional pork barrel, had been declared unconstitutional by the high tribunal.

Preparations

Revilla, meanwhile, said he has started coordinating with the CIDG for his surrender if and when the warrant for his arrest is issued.

“As I have said, they don’t need to look for me because I will surrender once the warrant of arrest is issued against me. I will voluntarily place myself under custody,” Revilla said in Filipino.

Revilla said Magalong had assured him over the phone that his arrest would be done in a cordial and peaceful manner.

“We have nothing to fear now. I have talked to this person (Magalong) and let him know that they don’t have to humiliate me. Things might get out of hand if they subject men to humiliation. I told them it would be best if I get picked up properly,” he said.

He said his arrest is imminent because the court had already issued a hold departure order against him and the others.

Revilla said he had already briefed his wife and his children as well as his father on what to expect.

He said he had to reassure his worried father, a retired actor, that he would be okay even behind bars.

“I have started to prepare him for any eventuality – for the worst-case scenario… I might want to also see him before I get jailed,” Revilla said.

His touching base with supporters in Metro Manila and Cavite in preparation for his arrest, meanwhile, has drawn rebuke from a prelate.

“It’s a desperate move because he knows what his ace is, and that is his popularity. He knows he has mass appeal, that’s why he is using it to defend himself – you take advantage of your popularity to save your face,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace.

“If he is really guilty and he still has the guts to go around… what a shame,” he added.

He said those named in the scam should visit the provinces to personally apologize for their actions and not to win sympathy.

“They should seek forgiveness from the people and return the money that they stole,” Gariguez said.

He lamented that politicians involved in the pork barrel fund scam seemed unaffected by their shameful actions.

“How come there is no element of shame even if the evidence against them is glaring? It’s not only the sense of shame but they seem to also lack conscience,” he said.

“We came to a point that our politicians are not bothered anymore by conscience, and their only goal is not to be caught by using anything at their disposal,” the CBCP official added.

In his visits to some communities in Metro Manila and Cavite, Revilla thanked his supporters and denied his involvement in the PDAF anomaly. – With Edu Punay, Christina Mendez, Evelyn Macairan


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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