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Antigraft court urges gov’t lawyers to speed up Napoles’ bail hearing

/ 03:56 PM April 24, 2015

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang on Friday pleaded to government lawyers to speed up the bail hearing of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

During Napoles’ bail hearing held at the makeshift courtroom in the Correctional Institution for Women, Tang urged both parties to resolve the bail hearing, supposedly a summary proceeding, with dispatch.

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“The bail hearing is going on for quite some time. We should finish this with dispatch,” Tang said in open court before reporters, lawyers and Napoles.

In a separate press conference, Tang said the bail hearing should only be summary in nature.

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“Under the rules, the bail hearing should be summary in nature. We are asking the prosecutors to speed up the presentation of evidence,” Tang said.

The Associate Justices also expressed the discomfort of going to the Mandaluyong correctional for Napoles’ bail hearings for plunder.

Napoles was sentenced to life in prison at the Mandaluyong correctional after she was found guilty for the serious illegal detention of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy. The Sandiganbayan has asked the Supreme Court to allow Napoles to leave jail for the bail hearings.

The high court had granted Sandiganbayan’s request only hours after its hearing in the correctional Friday.

In the briefing, Tang noted the hassle for justices to conduct hearing in an unfamiliar courtroom.

Associate Justice Alex Quiroz also said the court could have used the travel time to attend to equally-important hearings.

“In the Sandiganbayan (court), after this, we can attend to equally important cases. Of course there is a waste of time. There will be stress while travelling due to traffic,” Quiroz said.

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Napoles is under a 60-day quarantine period for her physical and psychological tests. She is under maximum security and will soon be placed in the maximum security jail with fellow convicts on crimes on people, such as homicide and murder.

Napoles, the accused architect of the scheme of pillaging lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks, has applied for bail before the antigraft court for plunder, a non-bailable offense.

The pork barrel scam case has resulted in the detention of Napoles, Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile, and former representatives Edgar Valdez and Rizalina Seachon Lanete and their aides for allegedly conniving with each other to earn kickbacks.

While she faces plunder trial, Napoles was convicted to serve life sentence on the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy, her former entrusted finance officer who blew the lid off the alleged scam.

In August 2013, Luy accused Napoles, a cousin, and her brother of illegally detaining him at Bahay ni San Jose and at the South Garden Pacific Towers in Taguig City, a Catholic retreat house in Magallanes Village, Makati City, after they reportedly found out that Luy was having separate business transactions allegedly involving lawmakers’ PDAF. AU

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TAGS: bail hearing, Janet Lim Napoles, News, Plunder, pork barrel scam, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, Sandiganbayan
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