Finally, after so much dramatics all these times by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla on their alleged involvement in the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by funneling it to a bogus non-governmental organization (NGO) of Janet Lim-Napoles in exchange for scandalous kickbacks, now the scam trial is with the anti-graft court or the Sandiganbayan.
This, after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales waited for nine months preparing the evidences and complaints submitted by the Department of Justice-National Bureau of Investigation (DOJ-NBI) team that were strong enough to warrant the filing of the plunder and graft case with the anti-graft court against the three senators, Napoles and other co-accused implicated in what is famously known now as the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
According to reports, Enrile is accused of plundering nearly P173 million in public funds while Revilla is accused of amassing more than P224 million and Estrada P184 million.
After the raffle, the Sandiganbayan had its first division, chaired by associate justice Efren dela Cruz, handling the 17 plunder and graft cases of Revilla, the third division chaired by associate justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang got Enrile’s 16 plunder and graft cases and the fifth division chaired by associate justice Roland Jurado working on the 12 plunder and graft cases of Estrada.
Now that the PDAF scam trial is with the Sandiganbayan divisions, what do we expect from the associate justices?
Our expectations can only be answered if the justices adhere to the vision and mission of the Sandiganbayan stated below and do justice to their work according to their seal emblazoned with the words, “karapatan” (loyalty), “kapanagutan” (responsibility) and “karangalan” (honor).
We envision a judicial institution that the Filipino people can rely on for the attainment of the highest norms of official conduct required of public officers and employees.
The Sandiganbayan’s mission is to give life and meaning to the constitutional precept that a public office is a public trust and to impress upon public officers and employees that they are at all times accountable to the people with their duty to serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. It carries out this objective by conducting expeditious trials of criminal and civil cases involving offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations.
We expect no less than the justices handling these high-profile cases to be diligent, earnest, fair and non-partisan by letting true justice prevail as quickly and judiciously as possible.
I don’t think we are asking too much.