MANILA, Philippines – The Makati regional trial court has approved an urgent motion by the camp of Janet Lim-Napoles to suspend this Friday’s proceedings and reset her arraignment to September 23.
Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 150 granted the petition by Napoles, who is currently detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for alleged serious illegal detention over the supposed abduction of her cousin and employee Benhur Luy, key witness in the P10 billion “pork barrel” scam for which Napoles has been tagged as the mastermind.
Lorna Kapunan, Napoles’ legal counsel, said they still have pending motions filed before the Court of Appeals and at the Makati RTC for the dismissal of the kidnapping case against her client.
“She’s not going anywhere. There’s no danger or escape of flight. What is the deferment of a few days . . . arraignment if the end of justice would be served,” said Kapunan.
Aside from the motion to suspend arraignment and defer proceedings, Napoles also filed a “motion for bill particulars” which sought to drop the conspiracy information against her and fugitive brother Reynald Lim.
At the same time, the counsel for Lim has filed before the same court an urgent motion to suspend the same proceedings.
Alameda, however, questioned the request, asking what the court would suspend if Lim has not surrendered to authorities.
The scam involves the alleged misuse of “pork” or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by legislators who were said to have endorsed the transfer of the money to fake nongovernment organizations managed by Napoles.
The Senate is investigating the controversy.
Originally posted at 2:46 p.m.