Justice prevailed over Napoles acquittal, says gov’t lawyer
Solicitor General Jose C. Calida, the government’s top lawyer, on Monday said justice prevailed with the acquittal of Janet Lim-Napoles in the serious illegal detention case.
“The decision of the Court of Appeals encapsulates the Latin maxim ‘Fiat justitia ruat caelum.’ Let justice be done though the heavens fall,” Calida said.
Calida said the Court of Appeals 12th division did the right thing in reversing the decision of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, who convicted Napoles of up to 40 years imprisonment.
Calida assured that Napoles’ acquittal will not have any effect on the string of plunder and graft cases in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The Office of the Solicitor General last January filed in the Napoles case a Manifestation in Lieu of a Rejoinder, stating that the evidence presented by the prosecution did not support the conviction beyond reasonable doubt of Napoles for serious illegal detention. According to Calida, the conduct and behavior of Luy during the period of his alleged detention was inconsistent with his claim that he was detained or deprived of his liberty.
According to Calida, the position of the OSG in this case was consistent with its mandate as the People’s Tribune. “This was not the first time that the OSG, as the People’s Tribune, took a position favorable to an accused in a criminal case,” Calida explained.
“Some sectors make a big deal out of this case because it involves Janet Lim Napoles. However, as the principal lawyer of the Republic, this is just a simple criminal case wherein the evidence does not support the conviction of the accused,” Calida said.
The solicitor general noted that in the past, the OSG has recommended the acquittal of the accused in appealed criminal cases whenever the evidence falls short of proof beyond reasonable doubt required in criminal cases.
“As Solicitor General, I share in the task and responsibility of dispensing justice,” Calida said. “I am a servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is that the guilty shall not escape or the innocent suffer.”
“The evidence in the Napoles case did not sustain the conviction of the trial court,” Calida said. “The essential element of deprivation of liberty was absent and wanting in this case.” JE/rga
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