Sandigan issues hold departure orders vs Revilla, Enrile

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Tuesday issued two separate hold departure orders (HDO) against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and their alleged cohorts in the plunder and graft cases in relation to the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

The first division chaired by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz and Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos barred Revilla and his 31 co-accused, including his political adviser Richard Cambe, from leaving the country.

On the other hand, the third division chaired by Associate Justice Amparo Cabote Tang and Associate Justices Napoleon Inoturan and Maria Cristina Cornejo, issued an HDO against Enrile and his former chief-of-staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes

Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles is co-accused in all plunder and graft cases against the two senators and Senator Jinggoy Estrada related to the PDAF scam.

Other Revilla co-accused in graft named in the HDO were: Ofelia Ordoñez, Francisco Figura, Ma. Ninez Guañizo, Chita Jalandoni, Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Gregoria Buenaventura, Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Romulo Relevo, Ronald John Lim, Alan Javellana, Gondelina Mata, John Raymond de Asis, Sophia Cruz, Marivic Jover, Antonio Ortiz, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, and Eulogio Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, Enrile's co-accused issued with HDO were: were Lim, de Asis, Jose Antonio Evangelista II, Francisco Figura, Marivic Jover, Antonio Ortiz, Alan Javellana, Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Romulo Relevo, Chita Jalandoni, Filipina Tolentino Rodriquez, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Sophia Daing Cruz, Gondelina Amata, Ofelia Ordoñez, Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Jo Christine Napoles, James Christopher Napoles, Eulogio Rodriguez, Dorilyn Agbay Fabian, Nitz Cabilao, and, Renato Ornopia.

In a television interview on Tuesday, Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon said they have yet to receive a copy of the HDO.

"I could not even comment why the Sandiganbayan issued that hold departure order. We had hoped that we would be notified before it issued the hold departure order so that we could have been heard on that, especially now that we have already filed two motions with the Sandiganbayan," he said.

Pending resolution by the Sandiganbayan first division are the motions for judicial determination of probable cause and deferment or suspension of proceedings and a motion for suspension based on existence of prejudicial question.

"If the Sandiganbayan will fully review the motion, it will realize that the filing of information was railroaded and should give basis to the Sandiganbayan not to issue a warrant of arrest but to dismiss the information," Bodegon said last week.

Revilla had said he is ready to face jail time soon.

Enrile, Revilla and Estrada allegedly pocketed public funds through kickbacks and commissions in the amounts of more than P172 million, P242 million and P183 million, respectively, by channeling hundreds of millions of pesos of their PDAF allocations to fake NGOs created and controlled by Napoles for the implementation of ghost projects.

On Monday, the Sandiganbayan fifth division issued an HDO against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and 13 others who were charged in cases related to the pork barrel scam.

The camp of another co-accused, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, filed a supplemental motion to stop the issuance of an arrest warrant against him, insisting that the case should be dismissed because the information against him is void.

"Being void for non-compliance with the requirement of the Constitution that in all criminal prosecution, the accused 'be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him,' no warrant of arrest may be issued," Enrile's motion read.

The Sandiganbayan has yet to issue a hold departure order against Enrile. (Sunnex)

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