Pork scam suspect Lanete’s bail from plunder opposed
State prosecutors have opposed the application for bail of Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete who is detained for plunder over the pork barrel scam.
In a comment opposition, government lawyers said the Sandiganbayan could not grant Lanete’s application for bail without having to go through a bail hearing where the prosecutors would have the burden of proving the evidence of guilt was strong.
“Clearly, it is only after the prosecution shall have presented its evidence and the court shall have made a determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong that Lanete can demand … to fix the amount of bail,” the prosecutors said.
“Until then, the court is not duty-bound to accede to Lanete’s prayer,” they added.
The prosecutors have also said Lanete’s claim that she is not a flight risk is not enough for her to be granted bail from a serious offense like plunder.
The prosecutors cited the Commission on Audit special report which found Lanete’s hand in the endorsement of bogus foundations linked to accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
“In light of the foregoing, a very strong case against the accused exists warranting the denial of her prayer that she be freed on bail,” the prosecutors said.
“Contrary to the accused’s contention that she is not a flight risk … the severity of the penalty of reclusion perpetua … for plunder which she is charged with definitely provides her a great incentive to flee,” they added.
In her application, Lanete said she should be granted bail from plunder, a nonbailable offense, because she claimed there was no strong evidence that she conspired with Napoles to rake in kickbacks.
Lanete also assured the court she would not flee from the charges because she remained confident that the evidence of guilt was not strong.
“The rationale is that if the evidence of guilt is strong, the accused has a greater incentive to flee … Here, there is no showing that the evidence against Lanete is strong,” the motion read.
She said that she had never fled the country even though she faced threats to her life because of the intense political rivalry in Masbate.
“There have been previous attempts on her life … Yet, none of these threats to her and her family’s lives have caused her to flee or go into hiding,” the motion read.
“Masbate is her home. She has nowhere else to go,” it added.
Lanete is accused of pocketing P108.405 million allegedly siphoned from her Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) from 2004 to 2010 when she was Masbate representative.
In its complaint, the Ombudsman said Lanete misused P112.29 million of PDAF from 2007 to 2009. Principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy in his ledger noted that Lanete from 2004 to 2010 received P108.405 million in kickbacks, of which P73.065 million were siphoned from her PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
In its indictment, the Ombudsman said, “Lanete continuously endorsed the implementation of her PDAF-funded livelihood and agricultural projects to questionable NGOs associated with or controlled by Napoles.”
“(Lanete’s) P112.29 million PDAF was anomalously used for livelihood projects, financial assistance to farmers, farm inputs and farm implements, skills training and distribution of livelihood kits in nail care, wellness, massage and candle-making. Several memoranda of agreement (MOA) were entered into between Lanete, (Technology Resource Center), (National Agribusiness Corp.) and the NGO-partners,” the Ombudsman said.
Lanete is detained at the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa with Napoles and Gigi Reyes, the aide of accused plunderer Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. RC