SC affirms Sandigan ruling granting bail to Napoles

SC affirms Sandigan ruling granting bail to Napoles

/ 05:44 AM March 22, 2024

Janet Lim-Napoles napoles affirm bail

Janet Lim-Napoles. File photo

The Supreme Court has affirmed the Sandiganbayan decision allowing businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and former Masbate Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete to post bail in their plunder case related to the “pork barrel” scam.

However, Napoles will remain behind bars as she has already been convicted in other cases linked to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.


READ: Bail for Napoles sparks outrage


In a 22-page resolution dated October 2023 but made public on Wednesday, the high court’s Third Division held that the antigraft court did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in allowing Lanete and Napoles to post bail due to the prosecution’s failure to establish the respondents’ guilt and show that they amassed at least P50 million—the threshold amount for plunder cases.

“Any proof that there was an accumulation of ill-gotten wealth, but in an amount less than P50 million, means that the accused committed a crime other than the crime of plunder,” it said.

But it clarified that the ruling would not affect the prosecution’s right to present additional evidence during the trial proper to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime of plunder existed.

Napoles was accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam, in which some lawmakers, in exchange for kickbacks, agreed to allocate their PDAF for the ghost projects of nongovernment organizations created by Napoles.

The scheme, however, was exposed by her cousin, Benhur Luy.

Decision questioned

The high tribunal’s recent ruling stemmed from a certiorari petition filed in 2017 by the People of the Philippines through the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor. It challenged the antigraft court’s decision in a criminal case that granted the applications for bail of Lanete and Napoles.


In its 2016 ruling, the Sandiganbayan said that “it was not clearly shown” how Lanete took part in the scheme. It cited, among other things, the prosecution’s admission that the pair “never met to discuss the latter’s percentage of kickbacks, commissions or rebates from the projects.”

The antigraft court also said the prosecution failed to show clearly that the total amount allegedly amassed by Lanete from her PDAF allocation from 2007 to 2010 reached the P50 million threshold amount for plunder.

In the information filed in court, Napoles and Lanete allegedly collected ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P64.4 million.

The Sandiganbayan, however, excluded several disbursement records presented during the bail hearing, as these were found irrelevant to the case or were not properly identified and offered as evidence.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

READ: Bail for Jinggoy but not for Janet

TAGS: bail, Janet Lim Napoles, Napoles, Plunder, pork barrel scam

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.