MANILA — Three separate divisions of Sandiganbayan will handle the plunder and graft cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and their co-accused.
Revilla’s plunder and 15 graft cases will be handled by Sandiganbayan’s 1st division under Justice Efren dela Cruz.
On the other hand, Enrile’s 16 cases will be handled by the 3rd division under Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, while Estrada’s 12 cases will be handled by Sandiganbayan’s 5th division under Justice Rolando Jurado.
Both dela Cruz and Tang were appointees of President Benigno Aquino III while Jurado was appointed during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Dela Cruz also handles the plunder case of Arroyo in connection with her alleged involvement in the malversation of the PCSO intelligence funds.
He was reportedly a member of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church headed by evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva, wherein his son, TESDA chief Joel Villanueva is also included in the list of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in the alleged “pork barrel” scam.
The three senators allegedly pocketed kickbacks by channeling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the bogus non-government organizations of Napoles.
Napoles, who is detained at a police camp in Laguna for serious illegal detention, is co-accused for all cases against the three senators.
Meanwhile, the camp of Enrile immediately filed motion to dismiss the charges against him and allow him to post bail.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed the plunder charges against the three senators and other co-accused in the P10-billion pork barrel scam last week after it junked the motions for reconsideration of the accused.
Morales earlier asked the Supreme Court to create at least two special divisions that will exclusively handle the cases related to the scam.
In her request, Carpio-Morales said the “national magnitude of these cases, the complexities of the issues involved, the number of accused and the far-reaching consequences of these cases” justify the creation of the special divisions.
She also invoked the Constitution and the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan and cited as precedent the High Court’s January 21, 2002 resolution creating a special division in the Sandiganbayan to hear, try and decide, with dispatch, the plunder case and all related cases filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and his co-accused.