Palace: Ball is now with Sandiganbayan

by Jing Castaneda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2014 05:20 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2014 01:20 AM

MANILA - Malacanang reminded the Sandiganbayan that the public is looking for accountability in the pork barrel scam cases.

"With the [Commission on Audit] Special Audit Report that came out, accountability started. And so we are going through the process of accountability. It might have taken some time owing to the fact that different agencies have to perform their mandates seriously and independently,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

He said the ball is now with the Sandiganbayan.

“It is now up to the judiciary, to the Sandiganbayan, to determine again whether there is an existence of probable cause and to issue warrants of arrest if necessary. As to the venue, as to the detention facilities… it will be subject to the decision of the Sandiganbayan. But whatever the decision of the Sandiganbayan is, we are prepared to enforce it as we are duty-bound to perform the mandate of ensuring that the warrant of arrest, if any, be effective; and also to provide the detention facilities,” he said.

He said it is up to the Supreme Court if it will grant the Office of the Ombudsman's request for the creation of 2 special courts to try the pork barrel scam cases.

Although Malacanang is supportive of the constitutional principles of the right of the accused to a speedy trial, they will just leave it to the courts to decide the matter and perform their mandate as they see fit, he said.

Lacierda denied anew that the government is persecuting Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla.

“The cases will be evaluated, whether you are friend or foe. We've already filed a case against an ally of the President. So, we are color-blind as to culpability… When the DOJ determines that there is sufficient ground to file a case against you, it will be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman -- and we have not hesitated to do so,” he said.