Sandiganbayan acquits Napoles in 16 graft raps over pork barrel scam
MANILA, Philippines — Convicted pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles has been acquitted in 16 counts of graft raps relating to the pork barrel scam involving Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., the Sandiganbayan declared.
In its decision released and dated May 22, 2023, the anti-graft court’s First Division dismissed the cases against Napoles for the failure of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in terms of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Senator Revilla was acquitted of the same cases in 2021, similarly due to insufficient evidence.
Revilla was also acquitted of plunder from the pork barrel scam case, but Napoles and Revilla’s former aide Richard Cambe was convicted.
The case stemmed from accusations that Revilla funneled P224 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations owned by Napoles.
Sandiganbayan said in the promulgation last December 2018 that the prosecution could not prove that Revilla had a hand in transferring PDAF funds.
Aside from the acquittal, the Sandiganbayan has also ordered that the Hold Departure Orders against Napoles, in connection with these cases, be lifted.
Inquirer.net obtained a copy of the decision of the anti-graft court and it read –
“WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
Finding Janet Lim Napoles NOT GUILTY in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0267 to 0282 for the failure of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt in all the sixteen (16) charges of violation of Section 3 (e) of the Republic Act 3019 , or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended.
The alleged acts are predicate crimes of Plunder in “People v. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.” Criminal Case No. SB-14-CRM-0240, under which she has already been previously charged and convicted (together with Cambe).
The Hold Departure Orders issued against her in connection with Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0267 to 0282 are ordered LIFTED.”