Court enters not guilty plea for Enrile

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Friday, July 11, 2014

MANILA (3rd Update) -- The Sandiganbayan entered Friday a not guilty plea for Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in the plunder case filed against him in connection with the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Enrile, who has been detained on charges of plunder and graft with two other prominent colleagues, refused to enter a plea himself during his arraignment at the anti-graft court's third division.

Enrile is temporarily detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame.

The 90-year-old legislator was brought to the court in an ambulance from a police hospital, where he has been detained since surrendering last week.

Enrile and two other senators -- Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. -- were ordered arrested by the court for allegedly receiving huge kickbacks from a scam that diverted millions of pesos from anti-poverty and development funds allotted to lawmakers.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. (Sunnex file)

Enrile's co-accused Janet Napoles, the scam's alleged mastermind, for the third time pleaded her innocence over the high profile case.

Before Enrile's arraignment, the third division denied the motion for bill of particulars filed by the senator's lawyer, Estelito Mendoza.

Mendoza said the bill of particulars that would specify the accusations against the senator, would have helped it prepare for the trial but third division chairperson and Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang rejected their motion.

Meanwhile, Enrile's former chief-of-staff and co-accused in the plunder case, Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes, skipped her arraignment after she failed to secure a medical clearance from the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital where is confined since Thursday due to anxiety attack.

Reyes was rushed in the hospital hours after she was transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City from the Sandiganbayan basement jail.

Also on Thursday, Reyes filed an urgent motion for reconsideration before anti-graft court for her to be allowed to be transferred in the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame.

Reyes' lawyer Anacleto Diaz said the presence of nine New People's Army (NPA) members detained inside her detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa are "hostile and antagonistic to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was the Minister of Defense during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos and former principal and co-accused in the instant case."

Two other co-accused of Enrile and Reyes in the plunder case, Ronald John Lim and Raymund de Asis, remain at large. (With AP/Sunnex)

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