By Czarina Ong Ki
What was supposed to be the start of the graft and plunder trial of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile before the Sandiganbayan this Tuesday involving the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam was once again moved to next week.
The anti-graft court’s Third Division deferred the trial because the pretrial order has not yet been released to the parties involved. Enrile’s trial will take place every Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
The former senator is facing one plunder and 15 graft charges for the reported misuse of his PDAF, which he allegedly endorsed to the bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for kickbacks.
Back in 2015, the Supreme Court allowed Enrile to post bail for his plunder charge out of humanitarian considerations.
Enrile is facing the charges together with his former chief of staff, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, who is still detained at the Taguig City Jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.
Last year, the Sandiganbayan already noted that “this case has been dragging on for quite some time already.” The trial was then set for Oct.16, 2019, but since there was still no pre-trial brief at the time, the trial kept getting postponed.