• Court asked to reconsider bail grant to Lanete, Napoles

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    PROSECUTORS under the Office of the Ombudsman are asking the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division to reconsider its ruling granting the bail petitions of former Masbate Rep. and dismissed Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

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    Finding that evidence shown by the prosecution against them in the bail hearings was not strong, the court granted the bail petitions of Lanete and Napoles in a plunder case filed against them in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam.

    In a 66-page Motion for Reconsideration filed on Thursday, the prosecution asserted that it had “clearly established” strong evidence of guilt as well as the supposed respective participations of Lanete and Napoles in the PDAF scam and their co-accused.

    It argued that “The findings of the Honorable Court are contrary to the evidence, rules and existing jurisprudential standards.”

    “The flaw in the reasoning of the Honorable Court is that in effect, it thinks that the culpability of accused Lanete could only be established if there is proof of personal dealings between her and accused Napoles. This disregards the provision in the Plunder Law that the amassing of ill-gotten wealth could be accomplished by the public official directly or indirectly,” it said.

    Lanete is alleged to have received kickbacks by coursing her PDAF to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supposedly run by Napoles.

    Citing witness Benhur Luy’s daily disbursement reports for 2007 to 2009 in its motion for reconsideration, the prosecution alleged that Lanete received about P76 million in supposed kickbacks.

    However, the Ombudsman said in a statement released on Thursday, the court excluded 32 items totaling P34,878,850 from the list thus reducing the amount to less than P50 million.

    It said the court held that 19 of these items totaling P14,413,750 were not marked and identified by the prosecution, therefore “it can only be surmised that the prosecution did
    not intend to include them in its evidence.”

    But the prosecution pointed out in its motion for reconsideration that the 19 items did not have to be “submarked” because they were constituent parts of already marked documents that the court had admitted in evidence.

    Another argument raised by the prosecution was that the court “committed errors which amount to a violation or deprivation of the state’s fundamental right to due process of law.”

    The prosecution said that the entire evidence it presented was not fully taken into account, and that its evidence was measured against legal standards and evidentiary burdens that are not applicable to bail proceedings.

    “Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing, People of the Philippines respectfully prays that the Honorable Court reconsider and set aside its Resolution dated 12 April 2016 and render a new ruling denying the applications for bail of accused Rizalina L. Seachon-Lanete and Janet Lim Napoles,” the prosecution said.

    Lanete is one of five former lawmakers charged by the Ombudsman in February last year in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    She posted bail for her provisional liberty after the court granted her bail petition.

    Meanwhile, Napoles is serving life sentence at the Correctional Institute for Women after a Makati court found her guilty in the serious illegal detention case filed against her by Luy.

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