Miriam on Ombudsman ruling: There's a God after all

Posted at 06/05/14 5:51 PM

MANILA - "There is a God, after all."

This is how Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago responded after the Office of the Ombudsman denied the motions for reconsideration filed by three senators who are facing plunder and graft charges.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales issued three separate Joint Orders all dated June 4, 2014, denying the MRs filed by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Janet Lim Napoles, and other co-respondents in the pork barrel scam cases.

She said she found that the motions "carry verbatim repetitions of the issues and claims raised" by respondents in their respective counter-affidavits.

Santiago, who has been engaged in a bitter word war with Enrile, said she had already predicted last month that the Ombudsman would reject the three senators' motions.

"As a former RTC judge, I take the humble opinion that the separate motions did not present any new evidence or any new argument. Therefore, like most courts do with pro forma motions for reconsideration, the Ombudsman should consider them as sham, dilatory, and frivolous," she said earlier.

The next step now is for the Ombudsman to file the complaints in the Sandiganbayan court, she said, which would then trigger the issuance of warrants of arrest against the accused.

The law provides that plunder is a non-bailable crime.

Santiago believes the three senators will run once more to the Supreme Court and maybe to other forums as well to delay the criminal proceedings.

"Any boasting on the part of the accused is just whistling in the dark. For example, Enrile said that he might represent himself. Everybody knows that a lawyer who represents himself is a fool."

"I humbly urge the Sandigan court to conduct hearings on the motions for bail by using a summary procedure. If evidence of guilt is strong, the accused should remain in detention to prevent them from fleeing as fugitives from justice, or financing a program of terrorism to distract the public," she said.

The senator said the best proof that one of the accused has used terrorist tactics is the recent "obviously manufactured problems" raised by the simultaneous release of the lists of lawmakers and other individuals who allegedly benefited from the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

"Watch out for similar diversionary tactics," Santiago said.