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Justice Tang refuses to inhibit from Enrile’s pork scam case


Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s appeal to inhibit Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang from handling his pork barrel scam cases has been turned down.

The Sandiganbayan Third Division has issued a resolution which junked the separate motions of Enrile and his co-accused and former chief of staff, lawyer Gigi Reyes, to have Tang inhibited.

“After a rational and logical assessment of the circumstances in this case, the court finds that there is no just or valid reason for the chairperson to recuse herself from further hearing the case at bar,” read the resolution penned by Tang.

Enrile and Reyes sought Tang’s inhibition as they expressed concerns the Presiding Justice would not give them fair treatment considering the magistrate got appointed to her post by former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Indeed, the best way to show one’s ‘utang na loob’ to whoever recommended him is to do honor to the position, not only in rendering just, correct, and impartial decisions but doing so in a manner free from any suspicion as to their fairness and impartiality and as to the integrity of the judge,” Tang assured.

Also, the magistrate pointed out ”if all members of the bench were to be compelled to recuse themselves on the ground that unconscious powers residing beneath them could probably hold sway, then nobody would be sitting on any bench in any court right at his very moment.”

“If the chairperson had allowed underlying forces to wield their power over her, she could and would have conveniently inhibited herself in every case before his court that involves accused Enrile,” Tang said.

Enrile is facing plunder and 15 counts of graft in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Under the charges, Enrile is accused of having amassed P172 million in kickbacks from pork barrel scam quee Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for choosing her non-government organizations (NGOs) to implement ghost projects funded by the former lawmaker’s PDAF.

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