FORMER SENATE president Juan F. Ponce Enrile
THE Sandiganbayan Third Division has approved a motion by former Senate president Juan F. Ponce Enrile for the prosecution in his plunder case to produce material evidence for his trial preparation, which prosecutors have opposed.
But in its resolution dated April 24, the graft court said the scope of the evidence Mr. Enrile may access is “limited” to documents that the Supreme Court has allowed to be disclosed, such as the breakdown of the amounts of the kickbacks that Mr. Enrile is said to have received from the alleged misuse of his pork-barrel fund when he was in the Senate.
“In order that an order for production or inspection may be issued, the following requisites must concur: (a) there must be a motion showing good cause therefor; (b) the documents must constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the case; and (c) the documents must be in the possession or under the control of the prosecution, police or other law investigating agencies,” the resolution stated.
“All these requisites are present in the instant case. First, there can be no dispute that the written statements, documents, etc. requested by the defense to be produced for copying purposes are material in this case….Second, it is indubitable that the documents are in the possession or under the control of the prosecution….Finally, a good cause exists for the granting of Enrile’s motion. It bears noting that Enrile was charged with a heinous offense, whose conviction carries with it the penalty of capital punishment,” the resolution also said, referring as well to the already abolished death penalty since the Arroyo administration.
The Third Division also said the former senator has “absolute control” on how to go with his defense: “If in his mind, he needed to inspect or copy pieces of evidence (not privileged) which are material for him to make an intelligent defense, then he is allowed by the Rules to ask for the inspection or production of these documents.”
Mr. Enrile, who is seeking a fresh term in the Senate this year, was accused of amassing P172.8 million worth of kickbacks from bogus non-government organizations led by Janet Lim Napoles, who was convicted in December last year in connection with the plunder case against former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.
Like Mr. Enrile, Mr. Revilla is seeking a new term in the Senate this midterm election. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras