The Sandiganbayan has allowed former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to file a motion to dismiss the plunder case against him in connection with the alleged misuse of P172 million of his priority development assistance fund.
The anti-graft court, in a minute Resolution dated September 18, granted the Chief Presidential Legal Adviser’s motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence filed last September 8.
A demurrer to evidence is a pleading wherein the accused, in this case, Enrile, is seeking dismissal of the charges against him without presenting counter-evidence.
“Accordingly, accused Entile, through counsel, is given 10 days from notice hereof within which to file his demurrer to evidence while the prosecution is given a similar non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt thereof within which to file its comment and/or opposition,” the Sandiganbayan said.
State prosecutors in July finished presenting evidence against Enrile in both the plunder and 15 counts of graft cases involving the alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds.
The anti-graft court, however, denied for lack of merit a similar motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence filed by Atty. Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff.
The anti-graft court, however, clarified that denying Reyes’ motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence is without prejudice Reyes’ filing of demurrer to evidence without prior leave of court but subject to the legal consequence provided under Section 23, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended.
This means that when Reyes files a demurrer to evidence, that would be tantamount to waiving her right to present counter-evidence and the Sandiganbayan would proceed to rule on the plunder case based only on the evidence presented by the prosecution.
In the event that Reyes decides to present counter-evidence in the plunder case, such evidence must be presented by her camp on October 17 and 19 before the Sandiganbayan Third Division.
Main prosecution witness Benhur Luy repeatedly told the Sandiganbayan that he and the children of businesswoman Janet Napoles signed on behalf of the supposed beneficiaries of the pork barrel fund of then-Senator Enrile to facilitate the transfer of public funds from Enrile’s office to Reyes, bogus nongovernment entities run by Napoles, and other government officials. –NB, GMA integrated News