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SC rejects plea to stop pork trial

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 12:47 AM March 16, 2016

THE GRAFT trial of the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam and four others will now continue unhindered after the Supreme Court Tuesday upheld their indictment and arrest.

Jointly ruling on separate petitions, the high court en banc affirmed probable cause to put on trial businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, her children Jo Christine and James Christopher, her driver John Raymond de Asis, and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s former aide Gigi Reyes, court spokesperson Theodore Te said in a press briefing.

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In a unanimous vote, 13 magistrates voted to dismiss for lack of merit the petitions assailing the Sandiganbayan and Ombudsman resolutions that had led to their indictment.

Associate Justice Arturo Brion was unable to vote as he was on leave, while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza had no part in the voting “due to previous action as Solicitor General.”

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“In so acting, the Court found that neither the Ombudsman nor the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in finding probable cause to charge petitioners and to order their arrest,” Te told reporters Tuesday.

The petitioners had separately challenged their indictment before the Supreme Court.

Napoles, who is facing a string of cases for the alleged fund diversion scheme, had asked the high court to dismiss the graft case against her and void the arrest order issued by the Sandiganbayan.

She continues to face trial for plunder and graft in separate Sandiganbayan divisions while currently detained at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.

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