MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to admit its amendments to the information on the plunder case they filed against Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The Ombudsman moved to amend the criminal information against Enrile just hours after the Sandiganbayan First Division trying Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. for plunder rejected a similar motion meant to improve the indictment against the lawmaker.
As in Revilla’s case, the Ombudsman wanted to emphasize that Enrile in his plunder case “was the one who amassed, accumulated and acquired ill-gotten wealth in connivance or in conspiracy with his accused public officer and private individuals.”
The Ombudsman asked the Third Division to admit the following paragraph included in the information against Enrile: “[By] exerting undue pressure on the implementing agencies to favorably act on his endorsement of the NGOs of Napoles to ensure that his PDAF be in the possession and control of Napoles and her cohorts, which undue pressure and endorsement, were in exchange for kickbacks, percentage or commissions, thereby unjustly enriching himself.”
The Sandiganbayan First Division earlier on Thursday junked the Ombudsman’s bid to amend the criminal information in Revilla’s case. It dismissed the Ombudsman’s motion before Revilla was arraigned.
In its manifestation with motion to admit amended information submitted to the Third Division before noon Thursday, the anti-graft body said the amendment of information was a matter of right as the accused has not yet been arraigned.
The Ombudsman added that the amendment conforms with the evidence of the prosecution, does not charge another offense and does not alter the prosecution’s theory of the case so as to cause surprise to the accused and affect the form of defense he has or will assume.
“The amendment merely adds specifications to eliminate vagueness in the Information and merely states with additional precision something which is already contained in the original information,” the manifestation read.
The Ombudsman said the phrase “enabling Napoles to misappropriate the PDAF proceeds for her personal gain” may be deleted. (MNS)