Sandigan orders Enrile arrest

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Friday, July 4, 2014

MANILA -- The Sandiganbayan third division ordered Friday the issuance of an arrest warrant against Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile after it found probable cause to hold him on trial for the plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Also ordered arrested were Enrile's former chief-of-staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes and other co-accused, including alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, Napoles' employee and nephew Ronald John Lim, and her driver John Raymund De Asis.

Enrile was the last among the three senators who were ordered arrested by the anti-graft court in relation to alleged misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are now detained in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

"The Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing warrants of arrest against the accused (Enrile)," the resolution read.

Enrile was charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, and graft for allegedly amassing P172 million in pork barrel kickbacks from 2003 to 2010.

The court, meanwhile, junked Enrile's motion for bail.

Malacanang expressed hope that truth and justice will prevail following the order of the Sandiganbayan to arrest Enrile.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Palace notes the resolution of the anti-graft court ordering the issuance of warrants of arrest against Enrile and other co-accused.

"Law enforcement agencies are ready to comply with the orders of the court. We are one with the people in their collective aspirations for truth and justice to prevail," he said in a statement.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier said that Enrile should be given consideration as to where he could be detained considering his health and old age. Enrile is 90 years old.

Also on Friday, the Sandiganbayan fifth division junked the travel request of Technology Resource Center director general on-leave Dennis Cunanan.

Fifth division chairperson Associate Justice Roland Jurado said Cunanan's motion was rejected because he is considered "a flight risk."

The TRC director general previously sought the court's blessing as he was scheduled to travel to Japan from July 7 to 15 and to the United States from July 20 to August 3.

Cunanan, a provisional witness in the case, has been tagged of using TRC as a conduit between lawmakers and the bogus foundations of Napoles. (With SDR/Sunnex)

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