Jinggoy, Napoles ask court to dismiss case
Plunder convict and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to reconsider its decision to deny her earlier motion to file a demurrer to evidence.
A demurrer is filed when the accused believes that the evidence presented by the prosecution is weak. This challenges the court to decide if there is enough for the case to move forward. When a demurrer is granted, it means the accused need not present any more evidence and the case is dismissed.
Napoles contended in her motion for reconsideration that the prosecution had failed to prove who the main plunderer in the case was.
Pork barrel funds
Napoles faces plunder and graft raps alongside former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada for their alleged conspiracy to defraud the government of some P183 million in Estrada’s Priority Development Assistance Fund by diverting the funds to Napoles’ bogus nongovernment organizations.
Based on the information charge sheet filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, Estrada, as the custodian of the pork barrel funds, was identified as the main plunderer.
But Napoles through her lawyers said “all of the 112 additional witnesses did not testify that Estrada was the main plunderer or mastermind … not even main whistleblower Benhur Luy testified to [that] effect,” her motion read.
Napoles also invoked the Supreme Court’s ruling that acquitted former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office plunder case since the prosecution had failed to identify the main plunderer.
Estrada meanwhile filed a similar appeal and said that Luy did not personally witness him receiving kickbacks.
Using another technicality, Estrada’s motion claimed that the P183 million allegedly plundered, when divided among the accused, would not reach P50 million each, the threshold for the nonbailable crime of plunder.
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