Veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza has a simple argument for getting his client, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, off the hook in his pork barrel theft case.
Mendoza told the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan last Friday that not one of the whistle-blowers ever witnessed Enrile accepting any kickback coming from Janet Lim Napoles.
Not Benhur Luy. Not Ruby Tuazon. Not Merlina Sunas. And not even Janet Lim Napoles.
The only possible witness who could pin Erile to the deed has refused to come forward. Enrile’s girl friday – Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes – has not turned state witness. And probably never will.
It must be a demonstration of that old saying: either they hang together or they hang separately.
Mendoza argued in court on June 20:
“Enrile’s role is merely to recommend the projects to be funded under the PDAF appropriation. It is the Executive Department, through various implementing agencies, together with their partner-organizations, that should be held accountable for the PDAF’s use, and the implementation of projects funded by the PDAF, including the liquidation of the PDAF used for the projects.”
Mendoza also said:
“The evidence shows that Enrile was not entrusted with any PDAF allocation, nor tasked to handle the PDAF, or to participate in the implementation of any government project funded by it.”
A week before that, Enrile had filed a 53-page “urgent omnibus motion” to dismiss the case because there was no evidence to link him to to theft of pork barrel funds.
He also argued that his role in PDAF was “merely to recommend the projects to be funded under the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) appropriation.”
In short, Mendoza (a former colleague of Enrile in the cabinet of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos) argued that Enrile didn’t really pay attention to how his pork barrel was used, that he just made general recommendations and nobody could say otherwise – there are no witnesses.
This is what sets Enrile’s case apart from that of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. There are eyewitnesses to pin both down. There are none against Enrile.
None – except Enrile himself.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.