Napoles, ex-Apec solon lose latest bid to junk pork plunder case
MANILA, Philippines—Pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and a former legislator on trial with her for plunder lost their bid anew to have the case against them thrown out by the Sandiganbayan through demurrer of evidence.
The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, in a resolution on Nov. 13, said the motion for reconsideration of Napoles and Edgar Valdez, former Apec party-list representative on trial with Napoles, presented no new arguments from their first plea for a demurrer last Aug. 28.
The demurrers, or bids to evaluate evidence and junk the case immediately if evidence was shown to be weak, were for the plunder case involving P57.78 million of kickbacks allegedly received by Valdez for allowing Napoles’ bogus NGOs to use his pork barrel funds.
Three of the NGOs that allegedly benefited from this transaction were the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (Mamfi), Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI) and Social Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI).
Napoles claimed that the court has no jurisdiction over the NGOs because these have not been named in the initial information, or complaint, filed against her and Valdez.
But the court said since Napoles was regarded as Valdez’s co-conspirator, the names of the NGOs that benefited from Valdez’s pork were considered to be the same NGOs involved in the case.
“These purported bogus NGOs were formed by Napoles to serve as the apparent recipients of Valdez’s PDAF (pork),” said the Fifth Division resolution penned by Associate Sandigan Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
“Mamfi, PSDFI and SDPFFI are the NGOs allegedly chosen by Valdez,” the resolution said.
“Otherwise stated, the NGOs are formed by Napoles as mere instruments for the entire scheme, and the commission’s kickbacks would be channeled through these Napoles formed NGOs for the benefit of Valdez,” the court added.
The court also insisted that other arguments in the motion for reconsideration were just repeats of those in the demurrers, which had been denied because of sufficiency in evidence enough to obtain conviction.
“As the court sees it, the other issues raised are nothing but mere replications the arguments stated in the respective demurrers to evidence of Valdez and Napoles,” the Fifth Division said.
“We need not belabor the point that there are competent pieces of evidence that Valdez amassed, accumulated or acquired at least P50,000,000.00 from his PDA -funded projects for the years 2004 to 2010,” it added.
Napoles is currently jailed at the Correctional Institute for Women after being convicted of another plunder case in December 2018, this time involving pork barrel funds of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla. Revilla had been acquitted but Napoles and his chief aide, Richard Cambe, were found guilty.
Valdez is out on bail because of a technicality—the prosecution failing to establish on time a case for plunder.
Edited by TSB
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