Napoles camp eyes filing plea to post bail, too
Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the accused mastermind in the pork barrel scam, may soon seek a second bail petition now that the main accused, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, was granted temporary freedom.
In an interview after Estrada’s plunder trial on Monday, Atty. Dennis Buenaventura said he found the Sandiganbayan Special Fifth Division’s resolution that granted Estrada bail “favorable” in the plunder case of Napoles.
Buenaventura said they would retain their argument that the criminal information against his client does not constitute plunder.
He also said that the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision that dismissed former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s plunder case, which was duly cited in Estrada’s grant of bail, serves to clarify Napoles’ bail petition.
“Yung dati naming inaargue eh, that supposedly the nature of the information does not really amount to plunder … Mas maganda lang yun dahil luminaw na dun sa GMA case. Application namin, mas lilinaw siya,” Buenaventura pointed out.
He said the Arroyo case, which was cited by the anti-graft court that plunder should identify the “main plunderer”, cannot be used against Napoles because plunder is an offense committed by a public official. Napoles is a private individual.
“Ang legal definition ng plunder, it cannot be. The main plunderer cannot be a private person. It should be a public officer. So if it appears like that, this is not plunder. This is something else, very different from plunder,” Buenaventura asserted.
Estrada’s plunder trial was cancelled Monday because of lack of quorum. It was reset to October 2.
The court granted Estrada’s bail plea when it introduced the Arroyo case, arguing that there was no strong evidence that Estrada was the “main plunderer” in the scheme.
Acting prosecution director Atty. Christina Marallag-Batacan said the Office of the Special Prosecutor would appeal the grant of Estrada’s bail.
“May good grounds kami. So I hope ma-reverse yung kanyang pag-grant ng bail,” Batacan said.
While Napoles had been denied bail in the plunder cases with former senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, Napoles was granted bail in the plunder cases with former representatives Edgar Valdez and Rizalina Lañete.
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