MANILA – Seeking due process in the plunder case against him, detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile petitioned the Supreme Court to furnish him a bill of particulars on the plunder and graft charges filed against him.
“The denial by the Sandiganbayan of petitioner Enrile’s motion for bill of particulars is… not a mere denial of a procedural right granted an accused under the Rules of Court but of rights vested in an accused under the Constitution to assure fairness of the trial of the offense charged. For, indeed, only when the trial is fair can there be a judgment that is just,” Enrile’s petition read, mentioning that he earlier asked the Sandiganbayan for a bill of particulars but was denied.
The detained senator was referring to Section 9, Rule 116, of the Rules of Court which stated that ‘the accused may, before arraignment, move for a bill of particulars to enable him properly to plead and prepare for trial.’
In law, a bill of particulars is a ‘detailed, formal and written statement of charges or claims given upon a formal request to the court for more detailed information.’
Last year, Enrile was charged of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly using his P172.8 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to fund multi-billion pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ bogus foundations and nongovernment organizations’ ghost projects and programs in exchange of commissions.
Enrile then asked the Supreme Court for a bill of particulars on his purported misuse of the PDAF which was originally intended to be used for projects and programs that would alleviate poverty in the Philippines.
The High Court yesterday granted Enrile’s plea and ‘directed the Office of the Ombudsman to submit a Bill of Particulars, providing the information to be contained in the Court’s judgment.’
With the Court granting his petition, the senator then sought for clarifications in the following questions:
Who among the accused acquired the alleged ill-gotten wealth worth P172 million;
What are the particular overt acts they have committed to constitute the ‘combination’;
What are the particular overt acts which constitute the ‘series’;
What was ‘repeatedly’ received;
What is the basis in describing the said projects as fictitious; and
How did Enrile take advantage of his position and why?