Ombudsman gives up on amending raps vs Enrile

Posted at 06/30/14 11:00 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Office of the Ombudsman on Monday withdrew its motion to amend the plunder and graft charges filed against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

In its motion to withdraw filed before the Sandiganbayan Third Division, prosecutors took note of what became of similar motions to amend information in the plunder and graft charges against Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada.

"Events that unfolded in relation to similar motions filed by the prosecution and heard before the First and Fifth Divisions of the Court have given herein plaintiff pause. Issues rose during said hearings and the processes it could have entailed for all involved to file their respective responsive pleadings; such as comments and oppositions, or even motions, became a consideration."

The prosecution said the intended amendment was only as to the form of the information and not as to substance.

However, it said the exchange of pleadings if the amended information is accepted could further delay the case.

"It is in its interest to expedite matters and ensure the absence of hindrances to the swift conclusion of the case," the motion added.

Atty. Dennis Pulma, Third Division clerk of Court, said the motion to withdraw motion to admit ammended information has been granted by the justices.

This means there will no longer be a hearing on the issue tomorrow.

The Sandiganbayan First Division earlier denied the motion of the special prosecutor for the court to admit the amended information on the plunder charge against Revilla.

Last Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman withdrew its motion to amend the plunder complaint against Estrada after the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division warned it could lead to the release of the accused from detention.

Defense lawyers have said the move is a clear indication the prosecution has a defective case. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, however, argued the rules of court allow such an amendment before an arraignment.