Napoles, Ducut plead not guilty in ‘pork’ case
Suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and former Energy Regulatory Commission chair Zenaida Ducut pleaded not guilty to graft charges involving the pork barrel funds of former Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas IV.
Napoles, Ducut and nine other codefendants formally entered their not guilty pleas during their arraignment before the Sandiganbayan Third Division on Tuesday afternoon.
But Cagas himself did not appear before the antigraft court because, his lawyer Joseph Capistrano said, they intended to appeal the court denial of his motion to junk the charges.
Besides Napoles and Ducut, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, budget and management specialist Rosario Nuñez, and administrative assistants and staffers Marilou Bare and Lalaine Paule were each arraigned on two counts of graft and malversation.
Likewise, former Technology and Resource Center officials Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Francisco Figura, budget officer Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and chief accountant Marivic Jover were each arraigned on one count of graft and malversation. —VINCE F. NONATO