MANILA - With the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division on Friday releasing its judicial determination on probable cause in the cases involving Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, all is set for the 3 divisions handling some of the anti-graft court's biggest and highly publicized cases since Joseph Estrada’s conviction for plunder in 2007.
Unlike the swift reaction of the 1st and 5th Sandiganbayan Divisions handling the cases of Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, the 3rd Division took almost a month from the formal filing of the case to release a resolution finding probable cause.
In his separate opinion, Associate Justice Samuel Martires revealed that although the information on the cases was officially filed on June 6, 2014, he only started reviewing the records on June 24, 2014.
Of the 9 justices -- three from each division -- handling the pork barrel cases, only Martires submitted a separate opinion and veered slightly away from stand of the other justices.
Martires earlier assured Enrile's legal counsel of a fair trial and said he would take his time in reading all 9,000 pages of the evidence. And take his time, he did.
Martires' footnotes said the Sandiganbayan division's clerk of court gave him copies of the documents on June 20. However, the copies contained cover pages that were missing attachments.
After verification with the docket section, Martires was able to confirm that the Office of the Special Prosecutor submitted incomplete documents.
Martires said he received all pertinent documents on June 25.
He also dissented in the issuance of warrants of arrest against Janet Lim-Napoles' children, Jo Christine Lim-Napoles and James Christopher Lim-Napoles.
No warrant was also issued against Fernando Ramirez, Aileen Palama, Amparo Fernando, Jesus Bergola Castillo, Dorilyn Agbay Fabian, and Renato Soson Ornopia, as the court ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor to produce additional evidence against them.
Meanwhile, the case against one respondent, Margarita Guadinez, has been recommended for dismissal.
In his separate opinion Martires labeled Guadinez's case as a "proverbial kabute," or a case that appeared out of nowhere.
He said he says the prosecution was not able to discuss her participation in the pork barrel scam.
Guadinez was identified in previous reports as a former official of the former National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR).
Martires also voted to grant the motion for reinvestigation filed by Hernani Ditchon, Rodrigo Galay, and Laarni Uy, whom he says were denied the right to preliminary investigation.
The Sandiganbayan division has yet to issue warrants of arrest in relation to graft cases in the pork barrel scam.
Division clerk of court Dennis Pulma said the court already has a resolution on the determination of probable cause in the case of the other accused but they still have to process the warrants.