Bayan: Latest twist in Napoles saga shows skewed justice system
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Thursday denounced the move of the Office of the Solicitor General to acquit accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles of illegally detaining whistleblower Benhur Luy.
“We are alarmed by recent statements of the Solicitor General regarding the alleged unjust conviction of pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles for the crime of serious illegal detention,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement.
“While the Sol Gen argues that the case is separate from the plunder cases Napoles is facing, it should be noted that it was the kidnapping of whistleblower Benhur Luy which triggered the expose of the multi-billion peso pork scam,” Reyes added.
“The Sol Gen’s move may have the effect of undermining Luy’s credibility as witness in the pork scam cases. Such a development may affect several cases involving high profile suspects accused of graft and plunder. We have to ask; where is this Napoles acquittal headed? What is the real game plan? Who will benefit?” he said.
On Wednesday, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that the Makati Regional Trial Court erred in convicting Napoles of Luy’s illegal detention, for which she had been sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2015. Calida said he was “duty-bound” not to allow an “innocent person go to the gallows.”
“After examining and reviewing anew the evidence presented by both the prosecution and defense, the OSG finds the evidence presented does not support the conviction beyond reasonable doubt that (Napoles) committed the crime of serious illegal detention,” Calida said.
“We just wanted the CA to know what is our opinion and it is up to the justices to assess the weight of our pleading,” he added.
Reyes said the “latest twist in the Napoles saga reminds us how the justice system is skewed in favor or the rich and powerful.”
“It is also doubly tragic that the government would exert this much effort on reversing the conviction of one Janet Napoles, while hundreds of political prisoners remain unjustly detained, languishing in jails all over the country. Even the promise of pardon for political prisoners convicted of trumped-up charges has been unfulfilled,” Reyes added. CBB