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Napoles driver seeks dismissal of plunder, graft cases against him

/ 07:22 PM August 14, 2014

Janet Lim-Napoles. Mark Balmores/Pool

MANILA, Philippines—The driver-messenger of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to dismiss the plunder and graft cases against him.

In a 60-page petition, petitioner John Raymund De Asis through his lawyer Kristel Concepcion Ona, also asked the Court to recall the arrest warrant issued against him by the Sandiganbayan.

De Asis, in his petitions said the Office of the Ombudsman gravely abused its discretion when it ordered the filing of a string of criminal cases against him.

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Documents showed that De Asis was listed as president of Kaupdanan para sa Magsasaka Foundation Incorporation (KPMFI), one of the alleged non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that was used as conduit for the pork barrel scam. But he said he has no knowledge of the creation of the KPMFI.

“Petitioner did neither knowingly directly or indirectly agree to, nor take part in the incorporation and management of affairs of KPMFI, or any NGO for that matter. The evidence on record, testimony of the witnesses and sworn admissions of the respondents in the Ombudsman case establish that petitioner took no part in the incorporation and management of the NGO’s,” the petition stated.

De Asis added the basis for including him in the charge sheet was only because he delivered money from the office to the house of Napoles. He said he also pick up checks and deposits them in banks.

These, he said, are part of his functions as Napoles’ driver-messenger.

“As far as petitioner is concerned, he was only performing his duties in good faith as a driver/messenger/janitor.  Petitioner cannot be held criminally liable for fulfilling his legal duties or office,” de Asis said.

“Apart from merely stating that petitioner de Asis was named as the president KPMFI, there was no other allegation, much less proof, to substantiate the charge against petitioner for plunder,” he added.

He pointed out that case against him failed to show that he connived with any public officer, amassed and accumulated ill-gotten wealth and that the aggregate amount of the ill-gotten wealth amassed at least P50 million.

“Apart from failing to show that petitioner de Asis directly or indirectly and knowingly took part in the commission of the foregoing acts, with criminal intent, the NBI complaint also failed to show that petitioner in fact conspired with the other respondents in the Ombudsman case,” he added.

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Meanwhile, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David said the case against De Asis should be dismissed since he was only given errands by Napoles.

He said if Luy’s defense was because he was only following orders from Napoles and he was not charged, De Asis should also be included in the complaint because they are in the same situation—a mere employee.

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TAGS: Graft, Janet Lim Napoles, John Raymund De Asis, Kaupdanan para sa Magsasaka Foundation Incorporation, KPMFI, Kristel Concepcion Ona, Napoles, NGOs, Non-Governmental Organizations, Office of the Ombudsman, PDAF scam, Plunder, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Sandiganbayan, Supreme Court
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