THE househelp whom Janet Lim-Napoles sent to jail for qualified theft was ordered released from the Makati City Jail by a court on Friday.
Judge Carlito Calpatura of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 145 ordered the release of Dominga Cadelina, 56, as he dismissed the case filed against her for insufficient evidence.
Calpatura said the prosecution failed to present strong evidence to pin down Cadelina to qualified theft charges filed by Napoles, the suspected mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam.
Cadelina was detained at the Makati jail for almost eight months while the court heard her case.
She was sent to jail by the Napoles family in January after accusing her of stealing bags, underwear and a jacket that allegedly amounted to nearly half a million pesos.
Lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), who represented Cadelina, had asked the court to dismiss the case.
PAO chief Persida Acosta maintained that Cadelina was set-up by the Napoleses.
She said the amount indicated in the receipts did not match the prices of the stolen goods in the information presented by the prosecution.
Cadelina, who worked for the Napoles family for about 10 years, said they were angry when she sided with pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Right after the court decision was received by the Makati jail on Friday noon, Cadelina was released and accompanied by Acosta to a hospital.
“After her release, we will bring her directly to the hospital since she has been suffering from hypertension,” Acosta said in an interview.
Cadelina said she had forgiven Napoles for what she had done on her.
“I am not mad at her. In fact, I wanted to take care of her when she was detained at the Makati jail but she won’t allow me anymore,” Cadelina added.
Napoles was also detained in one of the jail’s rooms on August 29 after she surrendered to President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malacañang.
Napoles is being detained on a serious illegal detention charge.
Cadelina said she was very close to Napoles, and even brushed her teeth and attended to her while she took baths using milk.
She said the charges against her were fabricated. She said Napoles had asked her to transfer some clothes and bags to one of the Napoles’ houses when the authorities caught her. She said Napoles filed charges against her to prevent her from divulging sensitive information about her former employer particularly on the pork scam.
Ritchie A. Horario