Sandiganbayan: Napoles detention to continue
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles may not taste freedom anytime soon, thanks to her nonbailable plunder cases at the Sandiganbayan.
The Court of Appeals on Friday acquitted Napoles in the case of illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
Factor in acquittal
Solicitor General Jose Calida’s manifestation in Napoles’ favor was a factor in Napoles’ acquittal. As the Court of Appeals noted in its May 5 decision, “the points raised therein were also passed upon in our decision-making process.”
The appeals court’s decision ordered the “immediate release” of Napoles “unless she is confined for any other lawful cause.”
Petition for bail
Napoles’ petition for bail, however, was denied in the separate plunder cases of former Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. This meant she would remain in detention.
Sandiganbayan (SB) Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, in a text message to reporters, said the commitment orders issued in those cases “constitute the legal bases for her continued detention.”
Credibility of Luy
“The commitment orders of the SB against her stand because they were issued in connection with the cases pending before the SB,” Tang said.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has yet to issue a statement, but during her media briefing on April 25, she said the result of the illegal detention case should have no bearing on the credibility of Luy and other pork barrel scam whistle-blowers.
“I don’t think it has any bearing on the [Priority Development Assistance Fund] cases. The credibility of Napoles in that detention case does not affect her credibility or the credibility of the witnesses for that matter,” Morales said.
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