Sei sulla pagina 1di 16

As a sequel to our column yesterday about the warring justices in the Supreme Court, digesting the most recent case of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is nothing but in order.

In here, the senator was the petitioner in G.R. No. 213455 against the People of the Philippines and the members of the third division of the Sandigayan including Justices Amparo M.Cabotaje-Tang, Samuel R. Martires and Alex L. Quiros.

The ponente of the decision was Justice Arturo D. Brion and was ruled by eight justices in favor and six justices against.

The decision has turned political with the appointees of Pres. Aquino objecting to the majority decision led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno.

The opening statement of the Supreme Court decision last August 11, 2015 reads:

We resolve the petition

for certiorari with prayers for (a)

for the Court

 

En Banc to act on the petition; (b) to expedite the proceedings and to

set the case for oral arguments

; and (c) to

issue a temporary restraining

order to the respondents from holding a pre-trial a

nd

further

 

proceedings in Criminal Case

No. SB-14-CRM-0238” filed by petitioner

Juan Ponce Enrile (Enrile) challenging the July 11, 2014 resolutions of the Sandiganbayan.”

On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman filed an Information for plunder against Enrile, Jessica Lucila Reyes, Janet Lim Napoles, Ronald John Lim, and John Raymund de Asis before the Sandiganbayan.

Enrile responded by filing before the Sandiganbayan (1) an Urgent omnibus motion (motion to dismiss for lack of evidence on record to establish probable cause and ad cautelam motion for bail), and (2) a supplemental opposition to issuance of warrant of arrest and for dismissal of Information, on June 10, 2014, and June 16, 2014, respectively.

The Sandiganbayan heard both motions on June 20, 2014. On June 24, 2014, the prosecution filed a consolidated opposition to

both motions. On July 3, 2014, the

Sandiganbayan denied Enrile’s

 

motions and ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest on the plunder

case against the accused.

 

On July 8, 2014, Enrile

received a notice of hearing informing him that

his arraignment

would be held before the Sandiganbayan’s Third

Division on July 11, 2014.

On July 10, 2014,

Sandiganbayan.

Enrile filed a motion for bill of particulars before the

On the same date, he filed a motion for deferment of

arraignment since he was to undergo medical xamination at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

On July 11, 2014,

Enrile was brought to the Sandiganbayan pursuant to

the Sandiganbayan’s order and his motion for bill of particulars was

 

called for hearing

. Atty. Estelito Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza), Enrile’s

counsel, argued the motion orally. Thereafter, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice (PJ) Amparo Cabotaje-Tang (Cabotaje-Tang), declared a “10- minute recess” to deliberate on the motion.

When the court session resumed,

PJ Cabotaje-Tang announced the

 

Court’s denial of Enrile’s motion for bill of particulars essentially on the

following grounds:

 

(1) the

details that Enrile desires are “substantial reiterations”

of the

arguments he raised in his supplemental opposition to the issuance of

warrant of arrest and for dismissal

of information; and

 

(2) the

details sought are evidentiary in nature

and are

best ventilated

during trial.

(To be continued)

 

* * * * * * POSTSCRIPT: For comments, suggestions or non-violent reactions, just email to attydandanbantugan@yahoo.com.

Enrile runs to Supreme Court, wants Sandiganbayan ‘pork’ trial stopped

Published August 7, 2014 11:54am

By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News

(Updated 3:31 p.m.) Months after his two colleagues ran to the high court

for help, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile has also

sought redress

from the Supreme Court to stop the ongoing Sandiganbayan plunder trial

 

over his alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

On Thursday, SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore

Te confirmed to reporters that

Enrile had filed a petition for certiorari with

GR. No. 213455.

In his petition, Enrile

asked the high tribunal to "issue a temporary

 

restraining order to respondents from holding a pre-trial

and further

proceedings in Criminal Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238."

 

He also asked the

high court to set his petition for oral arguments.

Enrile filed his petition through his lawyer

Estelito Mendoza and his law

firm, Ponce Enrile Reyes and Manalastas Law Office.

 

Enrile is facing one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft.

In separate information sheets filed by the Ombudsman,

 

Enrile and his co-

accused,

including his former

chief of staff Gigi Reyes, are alleged to have

amassed P172.8 million in kickbacks from 2004 to 2010

through non-

government organizations

associated with alleged pork scam brains Janet

 

Lim-Napoles.

Bill of particulars

In his 79-page petition,

Enrile said the Sandiganbayan acted without, or in

 

excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion

,

when it compelled

the

lawmaker to plead to the criminal charges without granting his "Motion

for Bill of Particulars."

 

Under Section 9, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court,

an accused has right to

 

move for a "Bill of Particulars" to enable him or her to properly plead and

prepare for the trial.

 
being lodged against him

being lodged against him

being lodged against him
being lodged against him

accused can ask for details of the case

Through the "Bill of Particular," an

, including particular facts or pieces of information

about the case, to ensure that the trial would be fair.

"

The denial by Sandiganbayan of petitioner Enrile's "Motion for Bill of

 

Particulars"

compels him to go to trial practically with one eye blindfolded

read the petition.

,"

"Despite the ambiguity and insufficiency of the information, the public

 

respondents erroneously denied petitioner Enrile's 'Motion for Bill

of

Particulars,'" it added.

Details needed

Among the details of the case that

arraigned were:

Enrile wanted to know before he was

names of the specific people who delivered and received the

 
 

P172,834,500.0

0 allegedly pocketed by Enrile, as well as the

dates
dates
 

and places where they were delivered;

 

 

description of each projects for which Enrile's Priority Development

 

Assistance Fund would have been used,

including who identified the

 

projects, as well as the nature, location and costs of the projects;

 

which particular Commission on Audit audits and field investigation

s

were

conducted to validate findings

that Enrile's PDAFs went to

 

ghost projects;

 

how did Enrile take undue advantage of his government positio

n to

 

enrich himself at the expense of the Filipino people;

 

Who amassed or acquired the accumulated amount of

P172,834,500.0

0? Enrile or his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes?

 

When? Where?;

 

with whom did Enrile conspire?

Reyes, alleged mastermind Janet

 

Lim-Napoles, Ronald Lim, John Raymund de Asis?

 

What particular acts constitute the "combination or series of overt

 

criminal acts"

that were

done to accumulate the amount

?

What

 

particular acts constitute the "series" and who among the accused

   

committed these acts?

Respondents

Named respondents in Enrile's petition were Sandiganbayan Presiding

   

Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and

Alex Quiroz

of the Sandiganbayan Third Division which is handling his

plunder and graft case.

Enrile's co-accused and fellow senators – Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Eatrada – have respectively filed in March and May similar petitions contesting the plunder charges and seeking to stop the trial.

Revilla had pleaded for oral arguments on his petition but the high tribunal did not heed his request.

Enrile, Revilla and Estrada are all detained in Camp Crame –

Enrile at the

 

PNP General Hospital while Estrada and Revilla are at the Custodial Center.

The

Sandiganbayan has ordered the suspension of the three lawmakers

although the decision has yet to become final and executory

 

. — RSJ/KG,

GMA News

!

!

Taking these elements into account, we hold that Enrile’s requested details on Who among the accused acquired the alleged “ill-gotten wealth” are not proper subjects for a bill of particulars.

!

!

The allegation of the Information that the accused and Jessica

Lucila G. Reyes, “conspiring with one another and with Janet Lim Napoles, Ronald John Lim, and John Raymund de Asis x x x” expressly charges conspiracy.

The law on plunder provides that it is committed by “a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with x x x.” The term “connivance” suggests an agreement or consent to commit an unlawful act or deed with another; to connive is to cooperate or take part secretly with another. 91 It implies both

knowledge and assent that may either be active or passive. 92 redarclaw

Since the crime of plunder may be done in connivance or in conspiracy with other persons, and the Information filed clearly alleged that Enrile and Jessica Lucila Reyes conspired with one another and with Janet Lim Napoles, Ronald John Lim and John Raymund De Asis, then it

is unnecessary to specify, as an essential element of the offense, whether the ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P172,834,500.00 had been acquired by one, by two or by all of the accused. In the crime of plunder, the amount of ill- gotten wealth acquired by each accused in a conspiracy

is immaterial for as long as the total amount amassed,

acquired or accumulated is at least P50 million.

We point out that conspiracy in the present case is not charged as a crime by itself but only as the mode of committing the crime. Thus, there is no absolute necessity of reciting its particulars in the Information because conspiracy is not the gravamen of the offense charged.

!

!

The Requested Details of Enrile’s PDAF

We similarly rule that the petitioner is not entitled to a bill of particulars for specifics sought under the questions

For each of the years 2004-2010, under what law or official document is a portion of the “Priority Development Assistance Fund” identified as that of a member of Congress, in this instance, as ENRILE’s, to be found? In what amount for each year is ENRILE’s Priority Development Assistance Fund?

and

x x x what COA audits or field investigations were

conducted which validated the findings that each of Enrile’s PDAF projects in the years 2004-2010 were ghosts or spurious projects? These matters will simply establish and support the ultimate fact that Enrile’s PDAF was used to fund fictitious or nonexistent projects. Whether a discretionary fund (in the

form of PDAF) had indeed been made available to Enrile as a member of the Philippine Congress and in what amounts are evidentiary matters that do not need to be reflected with particularity in the Information, and may be passed upon at the full-blown trial on the merits of the case.

! ! he yearly PDAF Allocations Specifically, we believe that the exact amounts of Enrile’s
!
!
he yearly PDAF Allocations
Specifically, we believe that the exact amounts of Enrile’s
yearly PDAF allocations, if any, from 2004 to 2010 need not be
pleaded with specific particularity to enable him to properly
plead and prepare for his defense. In fact, Enrile may be in a
better position to know these details
!
!

The details of the COA Audits

The details of the “COA audits or field investigations” only support the ultimate fact that the projects implemented by Napoles’ NGOs, and funded by Enrile’s PDAF, were nonexisting or fictitious. Thus, they are evidentiary in nature and do not need to be spelled out with particularity in the Information.

! ! Other Sources of Kickbacks and Commissions We also deny Enrile’s plea for details
!
!
Other Sources of Kickbacks and Commissions
We also deny Enrile’s plea for details on who “the
others” were (aside from Napoles, Lim and De Asis) from
whom he allegedly received kickbacks and commissions. These
other persons do not stand charged of conspiring with Enrile
and need not therefore be stated with particularly, either as
specific individuals or as John Does.
!
What the Constitution guarantees the accused is simply the
right to meet and examine the prosecution witnesses. The
prosecution has the prerogative to call witnesses other than
those named in the complaint or information, subject to the
defense’s right to cross-examine them.
!
!

The Overt Acts constituting the “Combination” or “Series” under the Plunder Law

We hold that Enrile is entitled to a bill of particulars for specifics sought under the following questions –

What are the particular overt acts which constitute the

“combination”? What are the particular overt acts which

those

constitute

the

“series”?

Who

committed

acts? [Emphasis ours.]

! ! Reason for Requirement for Particulars of Overt Acts Plunder is the crime committed
!
!
Reason for Requirement for Particulars of Overt Acts
Plunder is the crime committed by public officers when they
amass wealth involving at least P50 million by means of a
combination or series of overt acts. 97 Under these terms, it is
not sufficient to simply allege that the amount of ill-gotten
wealth amassed amounted to at least P50 million; the manner
of amassing the ill-gotten wealth – whether through a
combination or series of overt acts under Section 1(d)
of R.A. No. 7080– is an important element that must be
alleged.
!
!
!

With respect to paragraph (a) of the Information –

[(i.e., by repeatedly receiving from NAPOLES and/or her representatives LIM, DE ASIS, and others, kickbacks or commissions under the following circumstances: before, during and/or after the project identification, NAPOLES gave, and ENRILE and/or REYES received, a percentage of the cost of a project to be funded from ENRILE’S Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), in consideration of ENRILE’S endorsement, directly or through REYES, to the appropriate government agencies, of NAPOLES’ non-government organizations which became the recipients and/or target implementers of ENRILE’S PDAF projects, which duly funded projects turned out to be ghosts or fictitious, thus enabling NAPOLES to misappropriate the PDAF proceeds for her personal gain x x x)] – we hold that the prosecution employed a generalized or shotgun approach in alleging the criminal overt acts allegedly committed by Enrile. This approach rendered the allegations of the paragraph uncertain to the point of ambiguity for purposes of enabling Enrile to respond and

prepare for his defense. These points are explained in greater detail below.

The heart of the Plunder Law lies in the phrase “combination or series of overt or criminal acts.” Hence, even if the accumulated ill-gotten wealth amounts to at least P50 million, a person cannot be prosecuted for the crime of plunder if this resulted from a single criminal act. This interpretation of the Plunder Law is very clear from the congressional deliberations. 99 redarclaw

!

!

A reading of the Information filed against Enrile in the present case shows that the prosecution made little or no effort to particularize the transactions that would constitute the required series or combination of overt acts.

In fact, it clustered under paragraph (a) of the Information its recital of the manner Enrile and his co- accused allegedly operated, thus describing its general view of the series or combination of overt criminal acts that constituted the crime of plunder.

!

!

Approximate Dates of Commissions or Kickbacks

Enrile should likewise know the approximate dates, at least, of the receipt of the kickbacks and commissions, so that he could prepare the necessary pieces of evidence, documentary or otherwise, to disprove the allegations against him. We point out that the period covered by the indictment extends from “2004 to 2010 or thereabout,” of which, we again stress that different overt acts constituting of the elements of Plunder took place during this period.

Undoubtedly, the length of time involved – six years – will pose difficulties to Enrile in the preparation of his defense and will render him susceptible to surprises.

!

!

Approximate Dates of Commissions or Kickbacks

Enrile should likewise know the approximate dates, at least, of the receipt of the kickbacks and commissions, so that he could

prepare the necessary pieces of evidence, documentary or otherwise, to disprove the allegations against him. We point out that the period covered by the indictment extends from “2004 to 2010 or thereabout,” of which, we again stress that different overt acts constituting of the elements of Plunder took place during this period.

Undoubtedly, the length of time involved – six years – will pose difficulties to Enrile in the preparation of his defense and will render him susceptible to surprises.

!

!

The Government Agencies Serving as Conduits

The government agencies to whom Enrile endorsed Napoles’ NGOs are also material facts that must be specified, since they served a necessary role in the crime charged – the alleged conduits between Enrile and Napoles’ NGOs. They were indispensable participants in the elaborate scheme alleged to have been committed.

!

!

We reiterate that the purpose of a bill of particular is to clarify allegations in the Information that are indefinite, vague, or are conclusions of law to enable the accused to properly plead and prepare for trial, not simply to inform him of the crime of which he stands accused. Verily, an accused cannot intelligently respond to the charge laid if the allegations are incomplete or are unclear to him.

!

!

a. We PARTIALLY GRANT the present petition for certiorari, and SET ASIDE the Sandiganbayan’s resolutions dated July 11, 2014, which denied Enrile’s motion for bill of particulars and his motion for reconsideration of this denial.

b. We DIRECT the People of the Philippines to SUBMIT, within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from finality of this Decision, with copy furnished to Enrile, a bill of particulars containing the facts sought that we herein rule to be material and necessary. The bill of particulars shall specifically contain the following:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

1.

The particular overt act/s alleged to constitute the

“combination or series of overt criminal acts” charged in

the

Information.

2. A breakdown of the amounts of the “kickbacks or

commissions” allegedly received, stating how the amount of P172,834,500.00 was arrived at.

3. A brief description of the ‘identified’ projects where

kickbacks or commissions were received.

4. The approximate dates of receipt, “in 2004 to 2010 or thereabout,” of the alleged kickbacks and commissions from the identified projects. At the very least, the prosecution should state the year when the kickbacks and transactions from the identified projects were received.

5. The name of Napoles’ non-government organizations

(NGOs) which were the alleged “recipients and/or target implementors of Enrile’s PDAF projects.”

6. The government agencies to whom Enrile allegedly

endorsed Napoles’ NGOs. The particular person/s in each government agency who facilitated the transactions need not be named as a particular.

!

!

CASE DIGEST: Macapagal-Arroyo v. People of the Philippines [G.R. No. 220598, July 19, 2016]

FACTS:

Petitioners in this case are former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Budget and Accounts Officer Benigno Aguas.

The Ombudsman charged in the Sandiganbayan with plunder as defined by, and penalized under Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7080, as amended by R.A. No. 7659 the following: (1) GMA, (2) Aguas, (3) former PCSO General Manager and Vice Chairman Rosario C. Uriarte, (4) former PCSO Chairman of the Board of Directors Sergio O.

Valencia, (5) former members of the PCSO Board of Directors, and (6) two former officials of the Commission on Audit (COA).

The information read:

…[the] accused…all public officers committing the offense in relation to their respective offices and taking undue advantage of their respective official positions, authority, relationships, connections or influence, conniving, conspiring and confederating with one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate and/or acquire. Directly or indirectly, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE MILLION NINE HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FIFTEEN PESOS (PHP365,997,915.00), more or less, through any or a combination or a series of overt or criminal acts, or similar schemes or means, described as follows:

(a) diverting in several instances, funds from the operating budget of PCSO to its Confidential/Intelligence Fund that could be accessed and withdrawn at any time with minimal restrictions, · and converting, misusing, and/or illegally conveying or transferring the proceeds drawn from said fund in the aforementioned sum, also in several instances, to themselves, in the guise of fictitious expenditures, for their personal gain and benefit;

(b) raiding the public treasury by withdrawing and receiving, in several instances, the above-mentioned amount from the Confidential/Intelligence Fund from PCSO’s accounts, and or unlawfully transferring or conveying the same into their possession and control through irregularly issued disbursement vouchers and fictitious expenditures; and

(c) taking advantage of their respective official positions, authority, relationships, connections or influence, in several instances, to unjustly enrich themselves in the aforementioned sum, at the expense of, and the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.

CONTRARY TO LAW

The Sandiganbayan eventually acquired jurisidiction over most of the accused, including petitioners. All filed petitions for bail, which the

Sandiganbayan granted except those of the petitioners. Their motions for reconsideration were denied. GMA assailed the denial of her petition for bail before the Supreme Court. However, this remains unresolved.

After the Prosecution rested its case, the accused separately filed their demurrers to evidence asserting that the Prosecution did not establish a case for plunder against them.

The Sandiganbayan granted the demurrers and dismissed the case against the accused within its jurisdiction, except for petitioners and Valencia. It held that there was sufficient evidence showing that they had conspired to commit plunder.

Petitioners filed this case before the Supreme Court on certiorari before the Supreme Court to assail the denial of their demurrers to evidence, on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. ISSUES:

1.) Procedural Issue: WON the special civil action for certiorari is proper to assail the denial of the demurrers to evidence – YES. PROSECUTION: The petition for certiorari of GMA was improper to challenge the denial of her demurrer to evidence. HELD: Certiorari is proper since the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying GMA’s demurrer to evidence. General rule: The special civil action for certiorari is generally not proper to assail such an interlocutory order issued by the trial court because of the availability of another remedy in the ordinary course of law. Moreover, Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court expressly provides, “the order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or bycertiorari before judgment.” Exception: “In the exercise of our superintending control over other courts, we are to be guided by all the circumstances of each particular case ‘as the ends of justice may require.’ So it is that the writ will be granted where necessary to prevent a substantial wrong or to do substantial” (citing Ong v. People [G.R. No. 140904, October 9, 2000]). 2.) Substantive Issue: WoN the Prosecution sufficiently established the existence of conspiracy among GMA, Aguas, and Uriarte – NO.

A. As regards petitioner GMA HELD: The Supreme Court rejected the Sandiganbayan’s declaration in denying GMA’s demurrer that GMA, Aguas, and Uriate had conspired and committed plunder. The Prosecution did not sufficiently allege the existence of a conspiracy among GMA, Aguas and Uriarte. A perusal of the information (quoted above) suggests that what the Prosecution sought to show was an implied conspiracy to commit plunder among all of the

accused on the basis of their collective actions prior to, during and after the implied agreement. It is notable that the Prosecution did not allege that the conspiracy among all of the accused was by express agreement, or was a wheel

the

conspiracy

Prosecution. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080 (Plunder Law) requires in the criminal charge for plunder against several individuals that there must be a main plunderer and her co-conspirators, who may be members of her family,

relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons. In other words, the allegation of the wheel conspiracy or express conspiracy in the information was appropriate because the main plunderer

would

or

a

chain

conspiracy. This

was

another

fatal

flaw

of

then

be

identified

in

either

manner.

Citing Estrada

v.

Sandiganbayan, “The gravamen of the conspiracy charge…is that each of

them, by their individual acts, agreed to participate, directly or indirectly, in the amassing, accumulation and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth of and/or for former President Estrada.” Such identification of the main plunderer was not only necessary because the

law

in

required

such

identification,

but

also

because

it

was

essential

safeguarding the rights of all of the accused to be properly informed of the charges they were being made answerable for. In fine, the Prosecution’s failure to properly allege the main plunderer should be fatal to the cause against the petitioners for violating the rights of each accused to be informed of the charges against each of them. PROSECUTION: GMA, Uriarte and Aguas committed acts showing the existence of an implied conspiracy among themselves, thereby making all of them the main plunderers. The sole overt act of GMA to become a part of the conspiracy was her approval via the marginal note of “OK” of all the requests made by Uriarte for the use of additional intelligence fund. By approving Uriaiie’s requests in that manner, GMA violated the following:

a. Letter of Instruction 1282, which required requests for additional

confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) to be accompanied with detailed, specific project proposals and specifications; and

b. COA Circular No. 92-385, which allowed the President to approve

the release of additional CIFs only if there was an existing budget to cover the request.

HELD: GMA’s approval of Uriarte’s requests for additional CIFs did not

make her part of any design to raid the public treasury as the means to

amass,

allegation in the information to that effect, and competent proof thereon, GMA’s approval of Uriarte’s requests, even if unqualified, could not make her part of any criminal conspiracy to commit plunder or any other crime considering that her approval was not by any means irregular or illegal.

a. An examination of Uriarte’s several requests indicates their compliance with

LOI No. 1282. The requests, similarly worded, furnished:

(1) the full details of the specific purposes for which the funds would be spent; (2) the explanations of the circumstances giving rise to the necessity of the expenditure; and (3) the particular aims to be accomplished. The additional CIFs requested were to be used to protect PCSO’s image and the integrity of its operations. According to its terms, LOI No. 1282 did not detail any qualification as to how specific the requests should be made.

b. The funds of the PCSO were comingled into one account as early as 2007.

Consequently, although only 15% of PCSO’s revenues was appropriated to an operation fund from which the CIF could be sourced, the remaining 85% of PCSO’s revenues, already co-mingled with the operating fund, could still sustain the additional requests. In short, there was available budget from which to draw the additional requests for CIFs. PROSECUTION: GMA had known that Uriarte would raid the public treasury, and would misuse the amounts disbursed. This knowledge was imputed to GMA by virtue of her power of control over PCSO. HELD: The Prosecution seems to be relying on the doctrine of command responsibility to impute the actions of subordinate officers to GMA as the superior officer. The reliance is misplaced, for incriminating GMA under those terms was legally unacceptable and incomprehensible.

accumulate

and

acquire

illgotten

wealth.

Absent

the

specific

The application of the doctrine of command responsibility is limited, and cannot be true for all litigations. This case involves neither a probe of GMA’s actions as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, nor of a human rights issue (compare to Rodriguez v. Macapagal-Arroyo [G.R. No. 191805, November 15, 2011]). B. As regards Aguas HELD: Aguas’ certifications and signatures on the disbursement vouchers were insufficient bases to conclude that he was into any conspiracy to commit plunder or any other crime. Without GMA’s participation, he could not release any money because there was then no budget available for the additional CIFs. Whatever irregularities he might have committed did not amount to plunder, or to any implied conspiracy to commit plunder. 3.) Substantive Issue: WoN the Prosecution sufficiently established all the elements of the crime of plunder – NO. A. WoN there was evidence of amassing, accumulating or acquiring ill- gotten wealth in the total amount of not less than P50 million – NO. HELD: The Prosecution adduced no evidence showing that either GMA or Aguas or even Uriarte, for that matter, had amassed, accumulated or acquired illgotten wealth of any amount. There was also no evidence, testimonial or otherwise, presented by the Prosecution showing even the remotest possibility that the CIFs of the PCSO had been diverted to either GMA or Aguas, or Uriarte. B. WoN the predicate act of raiding the public treasury alleged in the information was proved by the Prosecution – NO. SANDIGANBAYAN: In order to prove the predicate act of raids of the public treasury, the Prosecution need not establish that the public officer had benefited from such act; and that what was necessary was proving that the public officer had raided the public coffers. HELD: The common thread that binds all the four terms in Section 1(d) of Republic Act No. 7080 together (misappropriation, conversion, misuse or malversation of public funds) is that the public officer used the property taken. Pursuant to the maxim of noscitur a sociis, raids on the public treasury requires the raider to use the property taken impliedly for his personal benefit.

!