Napoles seeks dismissal of charges over pork scam | Inquirer News
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Napoles seeks dismissal of charges over pork scam

/ 07:08 AM November 29, 2017

Janet Lim-Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss charges linking her to Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s P224.5-million plunder case, citing the prosecution’s failure to pinpoint a “main plunderer” in the pork barrel scam and calling whistleblower Benhur Luy a “tainted witness.”

Her 23-page motion filed on Nov. 24 was the first demurrer to evidence filed in a pork barrel scam indictment, as Revilla’s case was the first to reach the trial stage. A demurrer seeks the dismissal of a case on grounds of insufficient evidence.

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State prosecutors had accused Napoles of setting up bogus nongovernmental organizations and conspiring with legislators to funnel their pork barrel funds to these NGOs in return for millions of pesos in kickbacks.

Napoles invoked the Supreme Court’s controversial July 2016 ruling in which the tribunal required prosecutors to name the “main plunderer” for a plunder conviction.

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Bail petition

That decision led to the dismissal of the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was invoked by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is also facing plunder charges, to win his bail petition in September.

Napoles said the allegations placed her in the “center of the charge” as the alleged operator of the dubious NGOs that misused Revilla’s funds for ghost projects.

However, she said the prosecution could not name a private individual like her as the “main plunderer” under Republic Act No. 7080, the plunder law.

Napoles also claimed the prosecution failed to show that the alleged plunder conspiracy enriched any public officer and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allegedly deposited in the NGOs’ accounts were withdrawn to line the pockets of any official.

In her motion, Napoles said the Revilla plunder case “stands and falls on the testimony of Benhur Luy and his imagined evidence.”

The testimonies and documents of Luy and Napoles’ other employees formed the basis of charges that Revilla and his chief of staff Richard Cambe received kickbacks from the PDAF scam.

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Napoles said the daily disbursement record, summary of rebates and the external hard drive presented by Luy “do not prove anything” by themselves.

She argued Luy’s list of legislators who supposedly received kickbacks “do not prove the participation of the persons whose name appear on the said record,” especially since they did not sign this document.

The information recorded by Luy in his disbursement record was merely relayed to him, making it “hearsay evidence,” Napoles said.

Illegal detention

To cast doubt on Luy’s credibility, she cited the Court of Appeals’ May 8, 2017, decision to overturn her April 2015 conviction in the illegal detention case he had filed.

Solicitor General Jose Calida backed Napoles’ acquittal, saying the Makati City Regional Trial Court erred in convicting her.

Cambe, who is detained like Revilla, filed a separate 14-page demurrer motion also on Nov. 24, saying the Ombudsman failed to present evidence to prove he had amassed ill-gotten wealth.

Luy said Cambe had received P13.935 million.

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TAGS: Benhur Luy, Bong Revilla, Janet Lim Napoles, pork scam, Ramon Revilla Jr., Sandiganbayan
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