Sandigan defers graft arraignment of Napoles’ children
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan third division on Friday deferred the arraignment of the children of accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles for graft over their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The division gave the prosecution five days to comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles, and another five days for the defense to comment on the prosecution’s reply, before the court submits the motion for resolution.
Napoles’ children are supposed to be arraigned for graft on October 13 after the court found them liable.
In their motion for reconsideration, Napoles’ children said there was no evidence to show that they conspired with their mother over the alleged scheme of diverting lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.
They added that the charges against them were based on the testimony of whistleblower Marina Sula, who they said was a “polluted source” because she admitted to participating in the alleged scam.
They added the evidence tagged the whistleblowers as being the officials of the dummy foundations used in the scam.
Napoles’ children also said that the evidence did not show that they had any personal or official transactions with the accused public officials.
“The allegation that Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles acted in conspiracy with their co-accused is anchored on the dubious testimony of Marina Sula. It is not supported by any other independent evidence that would corroborate the contention that both accused acted in concert with their mother,” their motion read.
The accused then pinned the blame on the whistleblowers who admitted their hand in the scam but were given immunity from charges for testifying.
“If there are conspirators in the instant case, evidently these are the witnesses being presented by the prosecution, and their guilt cannot be sheltered by testifying in his case. Their guilt has been established by their very own words,” it said.
Napoles’ children then asked the court to defer their arraignment set on October 13 pending the court’s decision on their motion for reconsideration.
They also appealed to the court to dismiss the graft charges against them for lack of merit.
Both Napoles’ children posted bail while their mother Janet was being detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa female ward.
Janet Napoles, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile are all facing plunder charges over the pork barrel imbroglio. Enrile is under hospital arrest while Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center.
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