Palace says due process observed in pork scam cases

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2014 07:49 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 03:49 AM

MANILA -- Malacañang maintained due process is being observed in the prosecution of the pork barrel scam plunder cases involving Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

This was in response to questions on whether government is undermining Enrile's legal defense.

"Nag-announce ang Ombudsman na may resolution. Bibigyan ng Ombudsman ng panahon ang mga nakasuhan—magfi-file ng motion for reconsideration. So we are going through the process. I don't know if you can undermine Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who is a legal eagle. So we are going through... We are observing the legal process as how it is mandated under the law," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda pointed out the difference between this case and the case filed against Enrile and then Col. Gringo Honasan over the 1989 coup attempt against then President Corazon Aquino. That case was eventually thrown out.

"Rebellion complex with murder. I studied that... We were asked to research on that because I was then working for Congressman (Raul) Roco who gave—who sponsored the Emergency Powers Act of then President Cory Aquino. That was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because there is no such animal as rebellion complex with murder. But that was then... What is very clear right now is that the... We are going through the process. The DOJ went through it and the Ombudsman went through it also with a fine-toothed comb. So what you now see... What you now... The cases that are being filed right now, you can now see in the law statutes—in the law books."

He also pointed out the difference between Enrile's case and that of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who was acquitted in the US for a racketeering case because her signature did not appear in any of the evidence presented.

Enrile supposedly never signed any document that may be presented as evidence in the pork barrel scam.

"For different jurisdictions, you have different levels of laws and quantum of evidence. We are looking at... Imelda was—sorry—former First Lady Imelda Marcos was acquitted on the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statute—on a charge against the RICO statute. We don't have a RICO statute.

"What we are saying is that, we have looked at the laws, we have looked at the evidence. DOJ decided to file the case before the Ombudsman. Ombudsman reviewed the case, evaluated the case, and came up with the same assessment. So now, if it pushes through and proceeds to the Sandiganbayan, that's where the arena is going to happen so we'll just wait. But there is no... We have always stated this time and time again that we will go where the evidence leads us, and that applies to everyone, friend or foe," Lacierda said.