MANILA (Mabuhay) — A Malacañang spokesperson on Thursday maintained that President Benigno Aquino III is not trying to influence the Sandiganbayan on how to treat embattled Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
“Malinaw sa pahayag ng Pangulo na ipinapaubaya sa hukuman ang pasya kung saan maaring i-detine si Sen. Enrile,” Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
Coloma was responding to Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chair Dante Jimenez, who claimed the President could be held liable for “influence-peddling” since the Sandiganbayan is still in the process of determining probable cause in Enrile’s case.
Jimenez was referring to Aquino’s earlier statement that the court should consider the age and frail health of Enrile in determining where he will be detained once a warrant of arrest is issued against him.
Coloma, however, said the President was just asking the court to take into consideration the senator’s physical condition.
“Hindi ito maaring maituturing na ini-impluwensya ng Pangulo ang sinuman,” he said.
Enrile is facing one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft. He and his co-accused are alleged to have amassed P172.8 million in kickbacks from 2004 to 2010 through the pork barrel scam.
He is facing plunder and graft charges for allegedly diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to fake NGOs put up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in exchange for kickbacks. (MNS)