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Palace still confident of conviction of pork senators

Presidential Communications Group Secretary Sonny Coloma

Malacañang sees the setbacks in filing plunder charges against those involved in the pork barrel scam not as a road block as the government is still confident of the conviction of Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile and others for the misuse of government funds.

“Before the information was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, there was thorough study done by the Department of [Justice], the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] and other government agencies in gathering data and information in doing the case build-up to ensure that the charges are based on concrete evidence that can be proven in court,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a radio interview on Sunday.

Coloma also said that there is no room for “guessing” or “speculation” when the Department of Justice probed the charges against the three senators and alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

“The government knows the standards of our justice system that when a case is tried by the court, guilt must be beyond reasonable doubt,” the Palace spokesman said.

Last week, prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman backed away from amending the information for plunder filed against Revilla and Estrada but the Sandiganbayan warned that the senators could be freed because the original charges were based on the arrest warrants served against them.

Nevertheless, Coloma said the government is confident that the evidence presented before the anti-graft court is sufficient to pin down the senators.

“That’s why they labored to gather strong evidence, authentic documents that will support the charges. That remains our stand,” he noted.

“We will witness the continuation of the process of law and we hope that it will proceed in a just manner and fair trial… aimed at getting justice for the alleged misuse of public funds,” Coloma said.

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