Sandigan suspends Enrile

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Friday, July 25, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The anti-graft court issued Friday a 90-day preventive suspension against detained Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with his plunder and graft charges related to the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In the resolution signed by Sandiganbayan Presiding Judge and third division chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiros, the court granted the prosecution's motion to suspend accused pendiente lite against the former Senate President.

"Accused Juan Ponce is hereby suspended from his position as senator of the Republic of the Philippines and from any other public office which he may now or hereafter be holding for a period of ninety (90) days from the receipt of this resolution, unless a motion for recommendation is seasonably filed," the resolution stated.

The prosecution underscored the need for Sandiganbayan to suspend Enrile because his stay in office "may frustrate the prosecution of the crime, if not prejudice the case filed against him."

"To prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance, tamper with documentary evidence and intimidate or influence witnesses in the case, it is necessary that the accused be suspended from office while thy case is pending in court," the motion read.

Section 5 of the Plunder Law states that "any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act in whatever stage of execution, is pending in court, shall be suspended."

Enrile faces plunder and multiple counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly amassing P172 million in commissions and kickbacks after channeling his PDAF allocation to the bogus non-government organizations (NGO) of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the suspected mastermind in the pork barrel scam.

The resolution also stated that it is up to Senate President Franklin Drilon how to deal with the vacancy left by Enrile.

"The Senate President will surely know how to deal with the problem of filling up the temporary vacancies in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Senate," the resolution added.

Last week, the anti-graft court also issued a similar suspension order against Enrile's other co-accused, Senator Jose "Jinggoy” Estrada.

The prosecution team also filed similar motion against Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. but the first division who handles his case has yet to issue a similar suspension order.

On Thursday, the anti-graft court has junks Enrile's bail petition due to "lack of merit" and for being "premature" but allowed the senior lawmaker was allowed to temporarily stay at the Philippine National Police General Hospital while waiting for his medical assessment. (Sunnex)

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