MANILA — If three senators charged in pork barrel scam will be arrested, Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday said he will not allow the warrant of arrest be served inside the Senate building.
”As a matter of institutional courtesy, I will not allow the law enforcement officers to serve the warrant in the session hall or in the Senate,” Drilon said in a media interview.
Drilon, however, clarified the court sheriffs have the option not follow his request.
”This is not a matter of law because theoretically, the law enforcement officers can arrest them anywhere. I will appeal to them to do it (arrest) outside the building,” he said.
On Thursday, the Office of the Ombudsman has rejected the motion for reconsideration of senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. to junk the plunder and graft cases against them.
On Friday, the Ombudsman formally filed graft complaints before the Sandiganbayan against the three senators and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles for their alleged involvement in the misuse of P10 billion priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
Drilon said the Sandiganbayan will raffle the case and once it is assigned to a division, the justices would determine whether evidence is sufficient to warrant the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
”The issuance of warrant of arrest is not automatic,” he said.
Drilon said once the Ombudsman files a motion to suspend the accused, the Sandiganbayan has no discretion but to place the accused public officials under “preventive” suspension.
”The preventive suspension is only 90 days,” Drilon said.
The Senate president, however, clarified the suspension will only take effect after the Ombudsman file the appropriate motion in the Sandiganbayan.
”The legislator involved, a congressman or a senator, will be preventively suspended from performing his or her functions,” Drilon explained.
He said after the 90-day suspension, the accused public official will remain “under detention” but they can already file bill and conduct public hearings.
”(Because) remember that they are presumed to be innocent under proven guilty,” Drilon said.