See - SC affirms anew Napoles indictment over ‘pork’ | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com
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MANILA, Philippines - Pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles is not about to be released from prison despite the recent move by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to reverse her conviction in serious illegal detention case.
This came after the Supreme Court upheld her indictment in the Sandiganbayan over the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam yesterday.
The court affirmed the resolutions of the Office of the Ombudsman approving the filing of criminal charges against Napoles and two others in connection with the alleged misuse of over P25-million PDAF funds of former Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza.
Aside from Napoles, it also dismissed the separate petitions of her driver John Raymund de Asis and former National Agri-Business Corp. president Alan Javellana to dismiss the malversation of public funds, corruption of public officials and violation of the Anti-Graft Law cases filed against them.
The SC agreed with the ombudsman’s finding of probable cause, citing lack of proof that the anti-graft office has abused its discretion in filing the case at the Sandiganbayan.
“Petitioners’ contentions that the absence of the elements of the crimes they were charged with is a matter of defense to be ventilated at the trial as these are evidentiary matters requiring a full-blown (trial) and not during preliminary investigation,” the high court ruled.
Napoles is standing trial in several plunder cases in the anti-graft court also in relation to the PDAF scam.
The SC ruling came after the OSG sought the acquittal of Napoles before the Court of Appeals in the case involving serious illegal detention of star witness Benhur Luy, for which she was convicted.
Last week, Solicitor General Jose Calida defended his move to recommend Napoles’ acquittal, saying that his office just wanted to let the court know its opinion on the matter.
He said the Makati regional trial court (RTC) wrongly convicted Napoles.
“In Napoles’ case, it is my well-considered opinion and that of my assistants that the RTC erred in convicting Napoles. When we look at evidence, there are glaring instances that will support acquittal of the accused. It is my duty to state the facts. Persons involved here are immaterial to us. What’s important is justice should be done,” Calida said at a televised press briefing.
He claimed Luy was not illegally detained, pointing out that the latter did not exhibit restrained behavior, saw his family three times and was able to communicate with anyone outside.
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