Comment sought on special courts for PDAF cases

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

THE Supreme Court (SC) has no decision yet on the request of the Office of the Ombudsman for the high tribunal to create two special divisions at the Sandiganbayan to speed up the resolution of pork barrel scam cases.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said Tuesday the justices ordered the Sandiganbayan and "all parties" to submit their comment until Friday, which happens to be the regular schedule of raffling of cases at the anti-graft court.

In her letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno last week, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said special courts are needed due to the "national magnitude, complexities, number of accused and far-reaching consequences" of the plunder and graft cases.

Included in the first batch of cases were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and businesswoman Janet Napoles, who was accused of bribing lawmakers to convince them to channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that carried out ghost projects.

The SC created a special division in 2002 to hear, try and decide the plunder case against former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

The former leader was found guilty in September 2007 only to be granted pardon by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a month later.

Two members of that special division--Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Diosdado Peralta--are now part of the SC. (Sunnex)

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