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Sandiganbayan sets start of Enrile plunder trial on February 19

The plunder case of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile at the Sandiganbayan will have its initial hearing on February 19, some five years after his indictment on the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.

The pre-trial conference of Enrile wrapped up on December 7 after both parties finished the marking of evidence, prompting the Third Division to schedule the trial dates.

Proceedings of the case will be held every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., according to the division clerk of court.

Enrile, who will run for senator anew in 2019, has been accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth worth P172.8 million when he channeled P345 million of his Priority Development Assistance Funds, or pork barrel, to the fake foundations of alleged scheme mastermind Janet Lim Napoles from 2004 to 2010.

The case of Enrile has been delayed due to his bill of particulars, or a motion that enables an accused to properly plead and prepare for trial, which the Supreme Court only upheld on April 12, 2016.

His two co-accused include Napoles and former chief of staff Gigi Reyes.

On the other hand, the case against his former Senate colleague Jinggoy Estrada is in the middle of the trial stage, while Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. secured his acquittal from the pork barrel scam last week.

The anti-graft court's First Division said the prosecution was unable to prove Revilla received kickbacks from Napoles, who was found guilty and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. —LDF, GMA News