MANILA – Several lawyers from the Office of the Ombudsman are seeking for the suspension of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile while he is facing the plunder case for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The lawyers asked for the issuance of a preventive suspension order, in a motion filed before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.
“Considering that accused Enrile is an incumbent member of the Philippine Senate and is charged with plunder, the prosecution moves for his suspension pendite lite pursuant to Republic Act 7080,” said ombudsman prosecutors led by Deputy Special Prosecutor John Turalba.
“The purpose of the suspension, notwithstanding his present detention, is to preserve the integrity of the prosecution of the accused by preventing him from intimidating or influencing witnesses or tampering documentary evidence and to avoid further acts of malfeasance while in office,” the ombudsman stressed.
Suspension of other plunder case respondents including Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, were also earlier filed before the anti-graft court’s First and Fifth Divisions.
“Once the Information (criminal complaint) is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court is bound to issue an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be no ifs and buts about it,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.
The 90-year-old senator, who had his arraignment last week, is currently detained at the Philippine National Police General Hospital (PNPGH) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.