THE plunder trial of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for allegedly receiving P172.8 million in kickbacks from projects funded by his office’s pork barrel will finally start in 2019 by the Sandiganbayan Third Division.
It is set to begin on February 19, 2019 by the anti-graft court’s third division.
Due to the Supreme Court granting the former senator’s request for a Bill of Particulars, which required the prosecution to specify to the tiniest details its evidence against Enrile, his plunder case has been stuck at the pre-trial level for years. It has caused years-long worth of pre-trial conferences at the third division.
The Supreme Court also granted him bail, which gave Enrile his freedom for more than three years.
Enrile is also charged for 15 counts of graft over the scam.
Two women are crucial links to Enrile — his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes, and socialite Ruby Tuason who said she got kickbacks for Enrile from Janet Lim-Napoles, and she coursed them through Reyes.
Reyes, who allegedly signed endorsement letters to Napoles NGO, has has been detained for four years; meanwhile, Tuason has been turned into a state witness.
For former senator Jinggoy Estrada’s plunder case, the defense is set to start its presentation of evidence after the prosecution rested its case.
Estrada is charged for 11 counts of graft for allegedly receiving P183.793 in kickbacks from his pork barrel, as reported by Rappler. Supposedly, some of it were personally delivered by Tuason to his San Juan City home.
It was recently ruled by the Supreme Court that the Sandiganbayan can use explosive Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report as evidence, which shows Estrada under declared his cash assets from 2006 to 2012.
Estrada was also shown in the report withdrawing a total of P76.446 million from four bank accounts in September 2013, at the height of the exposé on the pork barrel scandal.
The report also shows that Estrada transferred millions of pesos to accounts under the names Gregorio (P42.849 million), Rolando Francisco (P20.7 million), Juan Ng (P29.904 million), and Reynaldo Pazcoguin (P11.9 million).
After the special 5th division granted him bail, Estrada has been free since September 2017.