MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division appeared to be losing its patience with the plunder case involving former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, saying the case has been dragging on because of motions and manifestations being filed left and right by the prosecution and the defense panels.
In a resolution dated October 7, 2019, the anti-graft court set another date for the resumption of hearings on the case involving the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan 5 years ago.
“The records bear out that this case has been dragging on for quite some time already," the court said in a resolution penned by Associate Justice Ronald Moreno, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.
"In order to avoid further delays, we order that the trial be set on October 16, 2019, without prejudice to any motion (not made with intent to delay the proceedings) that the parties may submit for the Court's consideration," the court said.
The court noted the latest manifestations of the prosecution and the defense as they did not contain any prayer for the court to act upon.
The latest of the manifestations involved the production of material evidence in the possession of the prosecution which the court granted in 2 resolutions dated April 24 and July 9, 2019.
Enrile’s lawyers, however, raised that the prosecution’s compliance with the order was “inadequate,” and that they would not be able to distinguish which evidence is material to their case as the production merely listed exhibit numbers.
The court noted that Enrile “must bear whatever inconvenience” that may arise from the granting of the motion.
Napoles is already serving time in prison for a separate plunder case also involving pork barrel funds.