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Enrile asked for PDAF release to groups allegedly linked to Napoles —DBM exec

A Department of Budget and Management (DBM) official on Thursday testified that former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile issued request letters for the release of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to groups allegedly linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Marissa Santos, chief administrative officer of the DBM Records Division, faced the Sandiganbayan antigraft court in the trial of 15 counts of graft charges against Enrile, now Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, and his former chief-of-staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, among others, over the PDAF use.

Santos' testimony included Enrile's request for Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) which releases the PDAF disbursement to implementing agencies, Notice of Cash Allocation (NCAs) which certifies the availability of funds, advice to NCA and other supporting documents pertaining to then senator's PDAF.

Included in the documents attached to Santos’ judicial affidavit which she adopted as direct testimony is the original copy of Enrile’s letter dated September 17, 2008 requesting then Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. to release his PDAF to implementing agencies that the prosecution linked to Napoles, also an accused in the graft cases.

“She (Santos) is the official custodian of the SARO, NCA, advice on notice of cash allowance and other supporting documents,” state prosecutor Althea Raypon said.

Raypon then offered stipulation or  to reach an agreement with the defense that Santos received subpoena from the Ombudsman for the submission of authentic copies of SAROs, NCAs, request letters and other documents pertinent to Enrile's PDAF.

The defense agreed on this stipulation.

Napoles’ counsel Rony Garay questioned the inclusion of Enrile’s 2008 letter to Andaya by citing Rule 132, Section 26 of the Rules of Evidence which states that “any public record, an official copy of which is admissible in evidence, must not be removed from the office in which it is kept, except upon order of a court where the inspection of the record is essential to the just determination of a pending case.”

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez, however, allowed Enrile's letter as part of evidence since the prosecution was presenting it to confirm with witness Santos that the original copy of the letter was faithful to the photocopy of the same earlier presented before the court.

“The court will allow it for comparison, if it is faithful to the source document,” Fernandez said.

Reyes’ legal counsel Christian Diaz proposed a stipulation that their camp and the prosecution agree that Reyes was not party, author or recipient in the documents testified upon by Santos.

State prosecutor Raypon, however, countered with a stipulation limiting such latitude.

“We’ll stipulate that the name of the accused Reyes was not in the documents mentioned [in the judicial affidavit of the witness],” Raypon said.

In response, Diaz agreed to Raypon’s counter stipulation.

Reyes, who is now out after a nine-year detention after the Supreme Court granted her petition for writ of habeas corpus, was physically present during the trial.

Her physical presence is in compliance with one of the conditions set by the High Court in granting her release. —LDF, GMA Integrated News