Napoles seeks SC relief from plunder cases
MANILA, Philippines–Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, has asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to indict her and others for plunder and graft.
In three separate but similar petitions for certiorari filed by her lawyers on Aug. 13, Napoles asked the high court to dismiss the cases filed against her at the First, Third and Fifth Divisions of the Sandiganbayan.
She asked the high court to set aside the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause against her, quash the criminal information filed against her at the Sandiganbayan and recall the warrants issued by the antigraft court.
“With the failure of the prosecution to show the petitioner Napoles was probably guilty of conspiring plunder and with undue haste in the filing of the information against her, petitioner begs of this honorable Supreme Court to take the extraordinary step of annulling the findings of probable cause against [her] for plunder,” the petition added.
Napoles is currently detained at the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, as the plunder cases filed against her were nonbailable offenses.
Like other PDAF scam suspects who appealed their cases in the high court, Napoles raised the issue that she could not have been validly charged with plunder because she was not a public officer.
She pointed out that in the charges against her, it was not established that her goal was to help lawmakers acquire ill-gotten wealth.
“Petitioner is a private individual. To hold her liable for the crime of plunder, it must be established that she conspired with a public officer in the commission of the crime of plunder and that the common purpose or goal is to enable said public officer to amass, accumulate and acquire ill-gotten wealth,” she added.
Napoles also said the complaints against her failed to state the appropriate time of the commission of the offense and the specific acts or omissions constituting the offense.
She denied any connection with the various allegedly phony nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that were used to siphon off lawmakers’ PDAF.
The businesswoman said that if it were true that she had given advances to the lawmakers, then the amount came from her own pocket, not from the government.
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