Napoles seeks dismissal of plunder case
MANILA, Philippines — Convicted plunderer Janet Lim-Napoles has sought the dismissal of her case involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
In her 34-page demurrer to evidence filed in the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, the camp of the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam argued that the evidence presented by the prosecution was “grossly insufficient” to convict her.
A demurrer to evidence formally asks the court to evaluate the evidence presented by the prosecution.
Once allowed, it could lead to the dismissal of the case.
Estrada is accused of funneling P183 million of his PDAF allocations to bogus foundations controlled by Napoles in exchange for kickbacks.
No main plunderer
As in her rejected motion for reconsideration in another plunder case involving the PDAF share of former Sen. Bong Revilla, Napoles said the Office of the Ombudsman had failed to point to Estrada or any public officer as the main plunderer.
The motion stressed that Napoles was a private individual.
“What appears in the instant case is incompetent, inadmissible and insufficient evidence that the conspiracy was geared toward helping the accused Napoles misappropriate the PDAF proceeds for her personal gain,” her lawyers said.
They also said the prosecution failed to reach the required threshold for a plunder charge, set at P50 million.
Without a main plunderer, the supposed ill-gotten wealth would be split into the four accused in the case: Estrada; Napoles; Pauline Therese Labayen, the former senator’s deputy chief of staff; and John Raymund de Asis, a driver-bodyguard of Napoles.
“Each of the four accused would account for the aliquot amount of only P45,948,437.50 or exactly one-fourth of the alleged aggregate ill-gotten wealth,” Napoles’ lawyers said.
They also said the Ombudsman had failed to establish that the PDAF proceeds had landed in the pocket of any public officer.
They questioned the credibility of whistleblower Benhur Luy, the star witness, calling him a “self-confessed forger.”
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